Circulating nerve growth factor levels are increased in humans with allergic diseases and asthma

Sergio Bonini, Alessandro Lambiase, Stefano Bonini, Francesco Angelucci, Laura Magrini, Luigi Manni, Luigi Aloe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nerve growth factor (NGF) serum levels were measured in 49 patients with asthma and/or rhinoconjunctivitis and/or urticaria-angioedema. Clinical and biochemical parameters, such as bronchial reactivity, total and specific serum IgE levels, and circulating eosinophil cationic protein levels, were evaluated in relation to NGF values in asthma patients. NGF was significantly increased in the 42 allergic (skin-test- or radioallergosorbent-test- positive) subjects (49.7 ± 28.8 pg/ml) versus the 18 matched controls (3.8 ± 1.7 pg/ml; P <0.001). NGF levels in allergic patients with asthma, rhinocunjunctivitis, and urticaria-angioedema were 132.1 ± 90.8, 17.6 ± 6.1, and 7.6 ± 1.8 pg/ml (P <0.001, P <0.002, and P <0.05 versus controls), respectively. Patients with more than one allergic disease had higher NGF serum values than those with a single disease. When asthma patients were considered as a group, NGF serum values (87.6 ± 59.8 pg/ml) were still significantly higher than those of control groups (P <0.001), but allergic asthma patients had elevated NGF serum levels compared with nonallergic asthma patients (132.1 ± 90.8 versus 4.9 ± 2.9 pg/ml; P <0.001). NGF serum levels correlate to total IgE serum values (p = 11.43; P <0.02). The highest NGF values were found in patients with severe allergic asthma, a high degree of bronchial hyperreactivity, and high total IgE and eosinophil cationic protein serum levels. This study represents the first observation (that we know of) that NGF is increased in human allergic inflammatory diseases and asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10955-10960
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 1996


  • bronchial hyperreactivity
  • eosinophil cationic protein
  • IgE
  • rhinoconjunctivitis
  • urticaria-angioedema

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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