Vulnerability to acid reflux of the airway epithelium in severe asthma - Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne Access content directly
Journal Articles European Respiratory Journal Year : 2022

Vulnerability to acid reflux of the airway epithelium in severe asthma

Gabrielle Wheway
  • Function : Author
Kamran Tariq
  • Function : Author
Adnan Azim
  • Function : Author
Robert Ridley
  • Function : Author
Jonathan Ward
  • Function : Author
James Pr Schofield
  • Function : Author
Clair Barber
Peter Howarth
Donna Davies
Ratko Djukanovic
  • Function : Author


Background Severe asthma is associated with multiple co-morbidities, including gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) which can contribute to exacerbation frequency and poor quality of life. Since epithelial dysfunction is an important feature in asthma, we hypothesised that in severe asthma the bronchial epithelium is more susceptible to the effects of acid reflux. Methods We developed an in vitro model of GORD using differentiated bronchial epithelial cells (BECs) from normal or severe asthmatic donors exposed to a combination of pepsin, acid pH, and bile acids using a multiple challenge protocol (MCP-PAB). We also analysed bronchial biopsies and undertook RNA-sequencing of bronchial brushings from controls and severe asthmatics without or with GORD. Results Exposure of BECs to the MCP-PAB caused structural disruption, increased permeability, IL-33 expression, inflammatory mediator release and changes in gene expression for multiple biological processes. Cultures from severe asthmatics were significantly more affected than those from healthy donors. Analysis of bronchial biopsies confirmed increased IL-33 expression in severe asthmatics with GORD. RNA-sequencing of bronchial brushings from this group identified 15 of the top 37 dysregulated genes found in MCP-PAB treated BECs, including genes involved in oxidative stress responses. Conclusions By affecting epithelial permeability, GORD may increase exposure of the airway submucosa to allergens and pathogens, resulting in increased risk of inflammation and exacerbations. Clinical implication: These results suggest the need for research into alternative therapeutic management of GORD in severe asthma.
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Dates and versions

hal-03552050 , version 1 (28-04-2022)



Jeanne-Marie Perotin, Gabrielle Wheway, Kamran Tariq, Adnan Azim, Robert Ridley, et al.. Vulnerability to acid reflux of the airway epithelium in severe asthma. European Respiratory Journal, 2022, pp.2101634. ⟨10.1183/13993003.01634-2021⟩. ⟨hal-03552050⟩


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