Surfactant decreases the surface tension of peripheral airways and modulates the immunological responses of the lung. The alterations of surfactant due to airway inflammation suggest a role in the pathogenesis of asthma.
We aim to test the hypothesis that serum levels of SP-A (Surfactant Protein A) and SP-D (Surfactant Protein-D) are altered in patients with mild asthma compared to healthy controls and those alterations are related to functional abnormalities of peripheral airways, which are an early marker of progression of asthma.
In this pilot study, we recruited 20 mild asthmatics and 10 healthy controls. We measured serum SP-A and SP-D and all subjects underwent clinical, lung function, and biological assessments.
Serum SP-D was significantly higher in asthmatics compared to healthy controls (mean (SD) values: 7.9(4.65) vs 3.31(1.71) ng/ml, p-value: 0.008). In the asthmatic group, serum SP-D was significantly correlated to CalvNO(Alveolar NO concentration) (R-squared: 0.26; p-value: 0.014).
These preliminary findings suggest that serum SP-D could be used as a lung-specific biomarker of small airways damage thus predicting the progression to the most severe forms of asthma.

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