Airway inflammation plays an integral role in diseases like asthma. Traditional lung function tests can measure severity, but don’t necessarily examine the underlying process of inflammation that strongly contributes to the disease. That’s where biomarkers can come in. Measuring factors that are involved in the inflammation that causes the disease can help clinicians with diagnosis, tracking disease progress, and possibly optimizing therapy. Measuring markers of airway inflammation can also help scientists get a clearer view of how certain interventions could impact diseases like asthma.
Here are some key biomarkers of airway inflammation:
Exhaled nitric oxide: Nitric oxide is produced by cells in the airway in response to inflammatory markers. People with airway inflammation diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder exhale a higher-than-normal amount of nitric oxide, making it a useful biomarker for airway inflammation.
9-alpha, 11-beta PGF2: This is a metabolite of prostaglandin PGD2, a major inflammatory chemical released by mast cells upon activation. Both PGD2 and 9-alpha, 11-beta PGF2 contract smooth muscle. This effect, along with others, contribute to many of the symptoms of asthma.