Eosinophilic airway inflammation is increased in children with asthma and food allergies

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2012 Feb;23(1):28-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2011.01226.x. Epub 2011 Nov 22.


Background: Asthma is associated with food allergies in a significant number of children, with evidence linking allergies to asthma severity and morbidity. In this study, we tested our hypothesis that the eosinophilic lower airway inflammation is higher in asthmatic children with food allergies.

Aims: The aims of the study were to compare the eosinophilic inflammatory markers in asthmatic children with and without food allergies.

Materials and methods: Children with asthma, with (n = 22) and (n = 53) without food allergies were included. All subjects were classified according to the GINA guidelines (2009) and had received at least 3 months of anti-inflammatory therapy prior to testing. Fractional exhaled nitric oxide and sputum differential counts were performed using standard techniques.

Results: Children with asthma and food allergies had significantly higher fractional exhaled nitric oxide median (range) [(22.4 (6.1-86.9) vs. 10.3 (2.7-38.7) (p = 0.01)] and sputum eosinophil percentage [15.5 (5.0-53.0) vs. 2.0 (0-20) (p < 0.001)] compared with asthmatic children without allergies.

Conclusion: These results suggest that the children with asthma and food allergies have increased eosinophilic inflammation of the airways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Breath Tests
  • Child
  • Eosinophilia / immunology*
  • Eosinophils / immunology*
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide / analysis*
  • Sputum / chemistry
  • Sputum / cytology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Nitric Oxide