The role of monocytes and natural killers' immunophenotypic subsets in bronchial asthma in children

J Asthma. 2023 Feb;60(2):244-254. doi: 10.1080/02770903.2022.2043361. Epub 2022 Feb 26.


Objective: Childhood bronchial asthma (BA) is a globally significant chronic disease with major health consequences. Recently, focus on the role of the innate immune system has been highlighted. Therefore, this study explores the role of circulating monocytes and natural killer (NK) clusters in childhood asthma.Methods: This case-control study enrolled 50 children with asthma divided equally into severe and mild groups and 26 healthy children. Flow-cytometry analysis was used to identify circulating blood monocytes and natural killers' subsets. In addition, pulmonary function test (spirometry) for children with asthma was performed.Results: This study showed significant negative correlations between frequency of total circulating, classical, intermediate, and nonclassical monocytes with ratio of forced expiratory volume/forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) (r = -0.637, P < 0.001; r = -0.575, P < 0.001; r = -0.657, P < 0.001; r = -0.329, P = 0.004, respectively). Also, there was significant negative correlations between frequency of total NKs and CD56dim CD16+ NK with FEV1/FVC (r = -0.584, P < 0.001) and (r = -0.579, P < 0.001). Significant predictors of childhood asthma severity were frequencies of total monocytes, total NKs, intermediate monocytes, and CD56dimCD16+ NK.Conclusion: Finally, we concluded that the FEV1/FVC is linked to aberrations of monocytes' and natural killers' immunophenotypic subsets in children with asthma. The frequencies of total monocytes and NK are significant predictors of severity of childhood asthma. The frequencies of CD14high CD16+ intermediate monocytes and CD56dim CD16+ NK cells are the best independent predictors of severity in children with asthma.

Keywords: Childhood asthma; asthma phenotype; monocytes subsets; natural killers’ subsets.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Killer Cells, Natural / chemistry
  • Monocytes*
  • Receptors, IgG / analysis


  • Receptors, IgG