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Earlier studies in adults have indicated that increased oxidative stress may occur in the blood and airways of asthmatic subjects. Therefore the aim of this study was to compare the concentrations of antioxidants and protein carbonyls in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of clinically stable atopic asthmatic children (AA, n = 78) with our recently published reference intervals for nonasthmatic children (C, n = 124). Additionally, lipid peroxidation products (malondialdehyde) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and several antioxidants in plasma were determined. Bronchoalveolar lavage concentrations (median and interquartile range) of ascorbate [AA: 0.433 (0.294-0.678) versus C: 0.418 (0.253-0.646) [mu]mol/L], urate [AA: 0.585 (0.412-0.996) versus C: 0.511 (0.372-0.687) [mu]mol/L], [alpha]-tocopherol [AA: 0.025 (0.014-0.031) versus C: 0.017 (0.017-0.260) [mu]mol/L], and oxidized proteins as reflected by protein carbonyls [AA: 1.222 (0.970-1.635) versus C: 1.243 (0.813-1.685) nmol/mg protein] were similar in both groups (p > 0.05 in all cases). The concentration of protein carbonyls correlated significantly with the number of eosinophils, mast cells, and macrophages in AA children only. Concentrations of oxidized proteins and lipid peroxidation products (malondialdehyde) correlated significantly in AA children (r = 0.614, n = 11, p = 0.044). Serum concentrations of ascorbate, urate, retinol, [alpha]-tocopherol, [beta]-carotene, and lycopene were similar in both groups whereas [alpha]-carotene was significantly reduced in asthmatics. Overall, increased bronchoalveolar lavage eosinophils indicate ongoing airway inflammation, which may increase oxidatively modified proteins as reflected by increased protein carbonyl concentrations.

(C) International Pediatrics Research Foundation, Inc. 2003. All Rights Reserved.