Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) may induce respiratory symptoms (RS) through inhalation of acid gastric contents. To characterize the airway inflammation associated with this condition, 20 children [7.4 (0.9) yr old] with "difficult to treat" RS and a positive 24-h oesophageal pH monitoring (pHm) were studied and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) performed. The control group included 10 children [7.3 (1.3) yr], non-atopics, with a respiratory clinical history similar to the cases but no reflux, as demonstrated by a negative 24-h oesophageal pHm. On BAL samples, in addition to inflammatory indexes, the lipid-laden macrophage (LLM) index was determined as index of gastric content inhalation. As compared to controls, GER children had higher neutrophil proportion (P=0.002), higher LLM index (P=0.004) and higher concentrations of interleukin (IL)-8 (P=0.005), myeloperoxidase (MPO) (P=0.001) and elastase (P=0.045) in BAL fluid. In GER children, but not in controls, neutrophil proportion significantly correlated with LLM index (r=0.65, P=0.002), with IL-8 (r=0.62, P=0.003) and MPO levels (r=0.54, P=0.014) but not with elastase concentrations. These results suggest an active pathogenetic role of IL-8 in the recruitment and activation of neutrophils in the airways of children with GER, respiratory symptoms and BAL findings suggestive of gastric content aspiration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine