Assessing immune function in adult bronchiectasis.

Research paper by P T PT King, P P Hutchinson, P W PW Holmes, N J NJ Freezer, V V Bennett-Wood, R R Robins-Browne, S R SR Holdsworth

Indexed on: 01 Jun '06Published on: 01 Jun '06Published in: Clinical & Experimental Immunology


Bronchiectasis is characterized by chronic airway infection and damage and remains an important health problem. Recent literature has emphasized the role of host defence and immune deficiency in the pathogenesis of bronchiectasis, but there have been few studies of immune function in adult bronchiectasis. A comprehensive screen of immune function was conducted in 103 adult patients with bronchiectasis, encompassing full blood examinations, immunoglobulins and IgG isotypes, complement levels, lymphocyte subsets and neutrophil function. Full blood examinations were normal in this cohort, as were complement levels. Statistical analysis confirmed that a significant number of subjects had low levels of IgG3 (13 patients), B cell lymphocytes (six patients) and T helper cell lymphocytes (seven patients) when compared with controls (P<0.05). The most common abnormality was found with testing of the neutrophil oxidative burst. All subjects had a normal neutrophil phagocytic function but 33 of the subjects had an oxidative burst that was below the normal range (P<0001). Almost half the group (45 subjects) had abnormally low levels of one of these four parameters. The findings of low B cells, Th cells and oxidative burst in bronchiectasis are novel. The results emphasize the importance of immune function assessment for adult bronchiectasis.