Airway molecular phenotypes in pediatric asthma

Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Apr;11(2):122-6. doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e328344874d.


Purpose of review: The review discusses what is known regarding airway molecular phenotypes in pediatric asthma, specifically biomarkers that have been studied and their relation to the various clinical phenotypes of asthma.

Recent findings: Pediatric asthma is a complex and heterogeneous disease that consists of several clinical phenotypes. There have been numerous studies investigating inflammatory markers that would increase our understanding of the underlying pathogenesis of asthma as well as facilitate the discovery of therapies for these patients. Some of these biomarkers, such as exhaled nitric oxide, exhaled breath condensate, urine leukotriene E4 and induced sputum are less invasive measures of inflammation than obtaining bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in children. Although recent data reveal that some of these measures may be helpful in classifying and managing pediatric asthma, further studies are critically needed before any of these biomarkers are able to be routinely used in clinical asthma care.

Summary: The search for noninvasive biomarkers to help elucidate specific underlying molecular phenotypes in pediatric asthma should be a continued priority as we work towards improved care and management of these children.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / classification*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / classification*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Inflammation / therapy
  • Inflammation Mediators* / blood
  • Inflammation Mediators* / metabolism
  • Inflammation Mediators* / urine
  • Leukotriene E4 / urine
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Sputum / immunology
  • Sputum / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Leukotriene E4