Background: Because eosinophilic airway inflammation is a characteristic feature of bronchial asthma, the treatment of airway inflammation is important in the management of asthma. Theophylline has been reported to reduce airway inflammation, in addition to its well-known bronchodilating effect. Objective: In order to evaluate the effects of theophylline on airway inflammation, we investigated 48 subjects with mild and moderate asthma. Methods: The patients were randomly divided into two groups, with or without theophylline treatment (control n = 24; theophylline, n = 24). We examined the level of serum eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), induced sputum samples, and peak expiratory flow (PEF) and obtained spirograms before and after 4 weeks of treatment with once-daily theophylline (200-600 mg/day) of subjects with mild or moderate asthma. Results: Theophylline significantly increased morning and evening PEF and significantly decreased the diurnal variation of PEF. After treatment with theophylline, both serum ECP and the percentage of eosinophils in induced sputum were significantly decreased. In contrast, peripheral blood eosinophil count was unchanged after treatment with theophylline. Conclusions: These findings suggest that theophylline reduces airway inflammation and the severity of asthma, presumably via suppression of both eosinophil activity and subsequent eosinophil infiltration of the airways. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG. Basel.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy