Blood granulocyte patterns as predictors of asthma phenotypes in adults from the EGEA study

Eur Respir J. 2016 Oct;48(4):1040-1051. doi: 10.1183/13993003.00336-2016. Epub 2016 Aug 4.


To what extent blood granulocyte patterns may predict asthma control remains under-studied. Our aim was to study associations between blood neutrophilia and eosinophilia and asthma control outcomes in adults.Analyses were conducted in 474 asthmatics from the first follow-up of the Epidemiological Study on the Genetics and Environment of Asthma (EGEA2), including 242 asthmatics who were adults a decade earlier (EGEA1). At EGEA2, asthma control was assessed using the Global Initiative for Asthma definition (2015), and asthma exacerbations by use of urgent care or courses of oral corticosteroids in the past year. Blood EOSlo/EOShi was defined as </≥250 eosinophils·mm-3, respectively, and NEUlo/NEUhi as </≥5000 neutrophils·mm-3, respectively. Estimates were adjusted for age, sex and smoking.At EGEA2, NEUhi was associated with asthma exacerbations and poor asthma control (OR >2.10). EOShi was associated with higher bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) (OR (95% CI) 2.21 (1.24-3.97)), poor lung function (p=0.02) and higher total IgE level (p=0.002). Almost 50% of asthmatics had a persistent pattern between surveys. Persistent NEUhi was associated with poor asthma control at EGEA2 (OR (95% CI) 3.09 (1.18-7.05)). EOShi at EGEA1 and persistent EOShi were associated with higher BHR (OR (95% CI) 2.36 (1.10-5.07) and 3.85 (1.11-13.34), respectively), poor lung function (p<0.06) and higher immunoglobulin E level (p<10-4) at EGEA2.Granulocyte patterns were differently associated with asthma outcomes, suggesting specific roles for each one, which could be tested as predictive signatures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Asthma / blood*
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / genetics
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eosinophils / cytology
  • Female
  • Granulocytes / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils / cytology
  • Phenotype
  • Smoking
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Immunoglobulin E