Induced sputum cellularity: Reference values and distribution in normal volunteers

Antonio Spanevello, Marco Confalonieri, Franca Sulotto, Francesco Romano, Gianni Balzano, Giovanni Battista Migliori, Achille Bianchi, Giovanni Michetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sputum induction has recently been proposed as the only direct noninvasive method for measuring airway inflammatory indices. The reference values and the distribution of cells in induced sputum in a control population have not yet been well defined. We therefore evaluated data from a large number of healthy volunteers. One hundred fourteen healthy, nonatopic, nonsmoking volunteers without airway hyperreactivity were enrolled (age: 38 ± 13 yr [mean ± SD]; FEV1: 105 ± 10% predicted; provocative dose of methacholine inducing a 20% decrease FEV1 > 3,200 μg). Ninety-six subjects (84%) produced adequate analysis samples. The subjects had a normal age distribution. Their induced sputum was rich in macrophages (69.2 ± 13%) and neutrophils (27.3 ± 13%), and poor in eosinophils (0.6 ± 0.8%), lymphocytes (1.0 ± 1.2%), and epithelial cells (1.5 ± 1.8%). Only macrophages and neutrophils showed a normal distribution; total and differential counts of other cells did not. We propose that these data be used in comparison of the induced sputum cells of normal subjects and those of patients with airway inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1172-1174
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3 I
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Induced sputum cellularity: Reference values and distribution in normal volunteers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this