Objective: This study investigated the relationship of plasma antioxidants to airway inflammation and systemic oxidative stress in children suffering from atopic asthma with consideration of the intake of nutritional supplements.
Subjects and research methods: A total of 35 asthmatic children (AG) and 21 healthy controls (CG) participated in this study. Plasma levels of vitamins A and E, β-carotene, coenzyme Q10 and malondialdehyde (MDA) were analyzed with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC); the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) was measured photometrically, and selenium was determined by atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS). The volume of fractionated exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) was measured with the NIOX nitric oxide monitoring system.
Results: The plasma antioxidants vitamins A and E, selenium, and coenzyme Q10 but not β-carotene were significantly (p < 0.05) lower in asthmatics than in controls. Further, asthmatic children had significantly reduced plasma concentrations of TAC (p < 0.01), significantly enhanced levels of MDA (p < 0.001), and exhaled a significantly (p < 0.001) higher mean volume of FENO than healthy children. Regular intake of supplements had a significant positive influence on plasma vitamin E (p < 0.01), selenium (p < 0.01), TAC (p < 0.05), MDA (p < 0.01), and FENO (p < 0.01) in asthmatics but not in controls. Additionally, significant negative associations of vitamin E and MDA (AG: p < 0.01; CG: p < 0.05), and vitamin E and FENO (AG: p < 0.05; CG: p > 0.05) were identified.
Conclusion: These results indicate that nutritional supplements beneficially modulate plasma antioxidants and thus might have a positive influence on systemic redox balance and subsequently, pulmonary inflammation in asthmatic children.