1Gamila M Shanab, 2Laila A Helala, 2Hesham S Sanad, 1Nabil A Saleh and 2El Saïd M Abou-Gamrah
Departments of 1Biochemistry, Faculty of Science and 2Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.
Thirty patients suffering from mild atopic bronchial asthma were divided into 3 equal groups and were subjected to experimental therapy via inhaling either 0.25, 0.50 or 1.00 x 106 IU of nebulized recombinant interferon alpha -2b (rIFN-a-2b). The objective was to demonstrate whether this cytokine has safe medical consequences and reliable therapeutic effects. Skin reactivity and pulmonary function [peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR %)] were tested before and after treatment. Post treatment data of both serum and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was compared with homologous baseline levels, as well as with levels from 10 healthy control subjects (PEFR % and serum parameters only). Negative skin prick tests, together with a dose-dependent significant reduction in eosinophil count and significant increase in PEFR %, were observed as remarkable signs of lowered sensitivity and improved airways function in the asthmatic patients after inhaling nebulized rIFN-a. The significantly alleviated serum and BAL levels of IL-4 concomitant with lowered serum total IgE as well as dust mite and milk specific IgE, were the most apparent immunological positive consequences of treatment with rIFN-a (0.50 x 106 IU), suggesting possible inhibition of IgE synthesis via blocked IL-4 function on TH2 cells. This could be considered a reliable index for potential therapeutic treatment of bronchial asthmatic patients with aeorosolized rIFN-a, especially in patients with unchanged serum levels of IgG, A and M.