Bronchial reactivity pattern in nonasthmatic parents of asthmatics

Ann Allergy. 1988 Sep;61(3):184-6.


Genetic mechanisms have been proposed to explain the presence of asthma in families. A methacholine challenge can identify individuals with bronchial reactivity (a hallmark of asthma). It may then be possible to determine whether the presence of non-specific bronchial reactivity, as detected by a methacholine response, has potential as a genetic marker. Thirty-one non-asthmatic parent pairs of asthmatic children were selected from asthma (AF) families enrolled in a Natural History of Asthma study. Parent pairs were chosen if both gave negative responses to a modified National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute questionnaire on asthma. The methacholine response of these parents of asthmatic children had a bimodal distribution. These results show that the methacholine response can mark bronchial reactivity without the presence of clinical asthma and that a familial component of bronchial reactivity exists which may be transmitted from one generation to the next.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / genetics*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchi / physiology*
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Methacholine Compounds
  • Parents


  • Methacholine Compounds
  • Methacholine Chloride