Sputum Inflammatory Mediators Are Increased in Aspergillus fumigatus Culture-Positive Asthmatics

Aspergillus fumigatus sensitization and culture in asthma are associated with disease severity and lung function impairment, but their relationship with airway inflammation is poorly understood. We investigated the profile of 24 sputum inflammatory mediators in A. fumigatus culture-positive or-negative moderate-to-severe asthmatics. Fifty-two subjects were recruited from a single center. A. fumigatus was cultured from 19 asthmatics. Asthma control, symptom score, lung function, and sputum cell count were not significantly different between the asthmatics with and without a positive A. fumigatus culture. All of the sputum mediators were numerically increased in subjects with a positive versus negative sputum A. fumigatus culture. Sputum TNF-R2 was significantly elevated (P=0.03) and the mediator that best distinguished A. fumigatus culture-positive from culture-negative subjects (receiver-operator characteristic area under the curve 0.66 [95% CI: 0.51 to 0.82, P=0.045]). A. fumigates-positive culture in moderate-to-severe asthma is associated with increased inflammatory sputum mediators.