Heterogeneous Response of Airway Eosinophilia to Anti-IL-5 Biologics in Severe Asthma Patients

J Pers Med. 2022 Jan 7;12(1):70. doi: 10.3390/jpm12010070.


Many questions concerning responders (R) and nonresponders (NR) in severe eosinophilic asthma (SEA) after blocking the IL-5 (interleukin 5) pathway are still not clear, especially regarding the early parameters of response to biologics in personalized treatment strategies. We evaluated 17 SEA patients treated with anti-IL-5 biologics (16 patients mepolizumab, one patient benralizumab) before the introduction of biologics, and at a week 16 follow-up. Clinical, cellular and immunological parameters in peripheral blood were measured in R and NR. Sputum induction with the measurement of cellular and immunological parameters was performed at 16 weeks only. There were 12 R and 5 NR to biologics. After 16 weeks, there was a significant improvement in percentages of FEV1 (p = 0.001), and asthma control test (ACT) (p = 0.001) in the R group, but not in NR. After 16 weeks, the eosinophils in induced sputum were 27.0% in NR and 4.5% in R (p = 0.05), with no difference in IL-5 concentrations (p = 0.743). Peripheral eosinophilia decreased significantly in NR (p = 0.032) and R (p = 0.002). In patients with SEA on anti-IL-5 therapy, there was a marked difference in airway eosinophilic inflammation between R and NR already at 16 weeks, after anti-IL-5 introduction.

Keywords: airway eosinophilia; anti-IL-5 biologics; induced sputum; severe asthma.