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Asthma is a complex syndrome associated with episodic decompensations provoked by aeroallergen exposures. The underlying pathophysiological states driving exacerbations are latent in the resting state and do not adequately inform biomarker-driven therapy. A better understanding of the pathophysiological pathways driving allergic exacerbations is needed. We hypothesized that disease-associated pathways could be identified in humans by unbiased metabolomics of bronchoalveolar fluid (BALF) during the peak inflammatory response provoked by a bronchial allergen challenge. We analyzed BALF metabolites in samples from 12 volunteers who underwent segmental bronchial antigen provocation (SBP-Ag). Metabolites were quantified using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) followed by pathway analysis and correlation with airway inflammation. SBP-Ag induced statistically significant changes in 549 features that mapped to 72 uniquely identified metabolites. From these features, two distinct inducible metabolic phenotypes were identified by the principal component analysis, partitioning around medoids (PAM) and k-means clustering. Ten index metabolites were identified that informed the presence of asthma-relevant pathways, including unsaturated fatty acid production/metabolism, mitochondrial beta oxidation of unsaturated fatty acid, and bile acid metabolism. Pathways were validated using proteomics in eosinophils. A segmental bronchial allergen challenge induces distinct metabolic responses in humans, providing insight into pathogenic and protective endotypes in allergic asthma.


Yanlong Zhu, Stephane Esnault, Ying Ge, Nizar N Jarjour, Allan R Brasier. Segmental Bronchial Allergen Challenge Elicits Distinct Metabolic Phenotypes in Allergic Asthma. Metabolites. 2022 Apr 22;12(5)

PMID: 35629885

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