Serum decoy receptor 3 is a biomarker for disease severity in nonatopic asthma patients

J Formos Med Assoc. 2017 Jan;116(1):49-56. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2016.01.007. Epub 2016 Feb 22.


Background/purpose: Decoy receptor 3 (DcR3), a soluble receptor of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily, is a pleiotropic immunomodulator. The aim of this study was to investigate serum DcR3 levels in atopic and nonatopic asthma patients.

Methods: The serum DcR3 levels of 70 adults with asthma and 20 healthy controls were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The asthma patients were divided into atopic and nonatopic subgroups, based on the presence or absence of immunoglobulin E (IgE) specific to allergen. Correlations between serum DcR3 levels and blood total-eosinophil counts, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC), and Asthma Control Test (ACT) scores were analyzed.

Results: The mean serum DcR3 level was significantly higher in asthma patients than in healthy controls (266.1 ± 60.6 pg/mL vs. 63.7 ± 21.9 pg/mL, p = 0.003), but there was no significant difference between the mean serum DcR3 level of asthma patients with atopy (37 patients) and patients without atopy (33 patients; 298.7 ± 111.2 pg/mL vs. 230.6 ± 38.5 pg/mL, p = 0.064). However, the serum DcR3 level was positively correlated with the total eosinophil count (r = 0.448, p = 0.012) and inversely correlated with the percentages of predicted FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and ACT score (r = 0.409, p = 0.018; r = -0.399, p = 0.021; and r = -0.505, p = 0.003, respectively) in nonatopic asthma patients, but not in atopic patients.

Conclusion: High serum DcR3 levels are associated with disease severity in nonatopic asthma patients, which suggests that DcR3 is a potential biomarker that can be used to predict the severity of nonatopic asthma.

Keywords: ACT score; FEV1; asthma; decoy receptor 3; total eosinophil count.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Member 6b / blood*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Taiwan


  • Biomarkers
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Member 6b
  • TNFRSF6B protein, human
  • Immunoglobulin E