Antibiotic for Asthma Sufferers
Reported May 25, 2011
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- People with severe asthma are more
likely to have antibodies against the disease-causing
bacteria Chlamydia pneumoniae than the general
population and in some cases antibiotic treatment can
greatly improve symptoms.
"We conclude that a subset of severe asthmatics harbor
infectious C. pneumoniae in their lungs, resulting in
antibody production and increased asthma severity,"
Eduard Drizik of the University of Massachusetts,
Amherst, was quoted as saying.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease, whose causes
are not completely understood, affecting over 300
million people worldwide, including almost 24 million
American children and adults. There is no cure for
asthma and the disease is managed by controlling disease
symptoms. The recognition that asthma pathogenesis
involves chronic inflammation has led to a flurry of
studies exploring the prevalence of various infectious
organisms in the asthmatic condition.
Having previously demonstrated an increased prevalence
of C. pneumoniae in the lungs of children and adults
with asthma, the researchers conducted a study designed
to determine if the presence of Chlamydia-specific
antibodies could predict asthma severity and if these
antibody-positive patients would benefit from treatment
"The data revealed a statistically significant link
between Chlamydia-specific IgE antibody production and
the severity of asthma," says Drizik. "Of the asthma
patients analyzed, 55% had Chlamydia-specific IgE
antibodies in their lungs compared to 12% of blood donor
In addition, patients who were treated on the basis of
asthma severity with antibiotics had significant
improvements in asthma symptoms and some even
experienced a complete abolition of these symptoms.
"Physicians should therefore fully explore the
involvement of microbes in difficult to treat asthma
cases, since there might be a cure for some types of
asthma after all," said Drizik.
SOURCE: 111th General Meeting of the American Society
for Microbiology, May 23, 2011