Cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease is characterized by chronic airway inflammation and recurrent infections, resulting in (ir)reversible structural lung changes and a progressive decline in lung function. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between non-invasive inflammatory markers (IM) in exhaled breath condensate (EBC), lung function indices and structural lung changes, visualized by high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scans in CF. In 34 CF patients, lung function indices (forced expiratory volume in 1 s, forced vital capacity [FVC], residual volume, and total lung capacity [TLC]) and non-invasive IM (exhaled nitric oxide, and condensate acidity, nitrate, nitrite, 8-isoprostane, hydrogen peroxide, interferon-gamma) were assessed. HRCT scans were scored in a standardized and validated way, a composite score and component scores were calculated. In general, the correlations between non-invasive IM and structural lung changes, and between IM and lung function were low (correlation coefficients <0.40). Patients with positive sputum Pseudomonas cultures had higher EBC nitrite levels and higher parenchymal HRCT subscores than patients with Pseudomonas-negative cultures (p < 0.05). Multiple linear regression models demonstrated that FVC was significantly predicted by hydrogen peroxide in EBC, and the scores of bronchiectasis and mosaic perfusion (Pearson correlation coefficient R = 0.78, p < 0.001). TLC was significantly predicted by 8-isoprostane, nitrate, hydrogen peroxide in EBC, and the mucous plugging subscore (R = 0.92, p < 0.01). Static and dynamic lung function indices in this CF group were predicted by the combination of non-invasive IM in EBC and structural lung changes on HRCT imaging. Future longitudinal studies should reveal whether non-invasive monitoring of airway inflammation in CF adds to better follow-up of patients.

Cystic fibrosis, Exhaled breath condensate, High resolution computed tomography, Lung changes, Lung function, Non-invasive inflammatory markers,
Pediatric Allergy and Immunology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Robroeks, C.M.H.H.T, Roozeboom, M.H, de Jong, P.A, Tiddens, H.A.W.M, Jöbsis, Q, Hendriks, H.J, … Dompeling, E. (2010). Structural lung changes, lung function, and non-invasive inflammatory markers in cystic fibrosis. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, 21(3), 493–500. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3038.2009.00872.x