An increased frequency of chronic infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae is seen in patients with asthma, researchers report in the April issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Dr. Michael Roth, who is currently at the University of Sydney in Campersdown, New South Wales, Australia, and colleagues in Europe note that there is accumulating evidence that respiratory tract infections, including C. pneumoniae, “play an important role in the pathogenesis of asthma.”
To investigate, the researchers compared sera from 33 subjects with a history of asthma, airway hyperresponsiveness and reduced lung function (FEV1) with those of 33 age-, sex- and location-matched controls.
None had signs of acute infection, but examination of serum samples showed that 63.6% of the asthma group and 57.5% of the control group had had C. pneumoniae infection in the past. Furthermore, C. pneumoniae-specific IgA was detected in 52% of asthmatics and 15% of controls.
Serological evidence of chronic infection as evinced by high levels of IGA and IgG was seen in 18.2% of asthmatics compared to 3.0% of controls.
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2001;163:1097-1100.