Asthma and allergy concept in circle, thin line icons with allergy symptoms and the most common allergens. Forest Medical Spirometer Calibration

Mites Aggravate Severe Asthma

Mites indirectly induce the proliferation of smooth muscle cells of the bronchi in severe asthmatics, thus contributing to the aggravation of their disease. A research team has just proved this phenomenon and clarified its mechanisms. It invites people concerned to protect themselves against these microscopic agents.

Severe asthmatics should avoid mites, whether they are allergic or not. This is the message that a team of researchers from Inserm hopes to pass to the general public after their work on the links between mites, bronchial epithelial cells and smooth muscle cells. The scientists have indeed shown that micro-arachnids indirectly increase the proliferation of smooth muscle cells of the bronchi in severe asthmatics. However, this proliferation contributes to bronchial remodelling and is correlated with the severity of the disease.

Identifying The Pathway

In starting this work, the researchers already had a lot of information: They knew for example that the exposure to mites stimulates the epithelial cells of the bronchial wall in allergic and non-allergic patients. These cells begin to secrete various chemicals, including those involved in inflammation. They also knew that severe asthmatics show specific remodelling of the smooth muscle cells of their bronchi, which increases contraction and reduces the diameter of these airways.

Researchers have demonstrated this phenomenon through different experiments, including using epithelial cells and smooth muscle cells collected by fibroscopy from severe asthmatics and healthy individuals. These cells were placed in culture and in contact with mites. Bringing into contact triggers the process described above and leads to the proliferation of smooth muscle cells. “The mites are not the cause of everything: it is clearly demonstrated that the smooth muscle cells of severe asthmatic patients are already remodelled in the absence of these micro-arachnids.” But this work shows that mites represent an additional contribution to remodelling”.

Possible Solutions

But a drug that blocks leukotriene receptors already exists on the market: montelukast. It is recommended in case of mild to moderate asthma, to improve the control of the disease in addition to regular asthma check-ups and Spirometer calibration & testing. Meanwhile, this study shows that practical measures recommended to allergy sufferers, such as the removal of carpets, double curtains and the use of anti-mite covers, are also useful in severe, non-allergic asthmatics. This patient population, which accounts for nearly 10% of asthmatics, pays the highest price for the disease in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, around 1,000 a year in most countries in Europe”.

Inhalation of an allergenic substance, a viral or chemical particle, or even a physical event that causes psychological effects are all factors that may contribute to an asthma attack. For sufferers of this disease, it is imperative that each patient know the triggers that affect them; so as to avoid future contact and improve their asthma management.

In most cases, several factors interact and these combinations affect asthmatics in different proportions. Each asthmatic has to recognize the factors behind their seizures, helped by possible allergic skin tests, and learning how to avoid them.

Forest Medical Spirometer Calibration

Spirometry is a breathing or ‘lung function’ test. It’s one of the most common tests people with asthma or people who are being tested for asthma, are given. Your GP or asthma nurse will ask you to take a deep breath and then breathe out as fast as you can and for as long as you can through a mouthpiece linked to a ‘Spirometer’. You will have to blow a few times so your GP or asthma nurse can get an accurate result.

As with all medical equipment, Spirometers need thorough and comprehensive testing on a regular basis. Failure to adequately test a Spirometer puts it at risk of failure or of false readings being displayed from the equipment, which can have disastrous results.

We undertake thorough Spirometer Calibration to fully test your machines and ensure that they are safe and suitable for use.

    1. Trian et al. House dust mites induce overgrowth of severe asthmatic smooth muscle cells via an epithelium-dependent pathway. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, January 8, 2015, online edition

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