A new study has revealed that corticosteroid, the main treatment for asthma, may worsen some patients' symptoms.
The study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found that inhaled corticosteroid is not effective in 5 to 10 percent of those with severe asthma.
“The current therapies are inadequate for a subset of patients with a severe form of asthma,” the study’s co-senior author Anuradha Ray, professor of immunology and medicine and Endowed Chair in Lung Immunology at the School of Medicine, said. “We need to better understand their underlying disease and why they are poorly responsive to corticosteroids in order to identify novel targets for future therapies.”
The work focused on CXCL10, an inflammatory protein induced by interferon-gamma. In the study, researchers investigated whether interferon-gamma signaling is responsible for the poor response to corticosteroid therapy of some severe asthmatics, according to UPMC’s website.
Researchers broke the asthma patients into two groups, high and low CXCL10, finding that the high CXCL10 group had worse asthma control.
“Our findings show that CXCL10 is elevated in some patients with severe asthma and that corticosteroids have little impact on its production,” co-senior author Dr. Sally Wenzel, professor of medicine in School of Medicine and director of the University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute at UPMC, said. “While corticosteroids are the mainstay asthma treatment, our findings suggest that these medications are of limited help to patients with high levels of interferon-gamma and CXCL10, and may even be harmful over time.”
The team plans to further investigate.