A comparative study of the effects of ketotifen, disodium cromoglycate, and beclomethasone dipropionate on bronchial mucosa and asthma symptoms in patients with atopic asthma.Respir Med. 1998 Jul; 92(7):942-50.RM
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways that is characterized by infiltration of many inflammatory cells into the bronchial mucosa. We compared the effects of ketotifen, disodium cromoglycate (DSCG), and beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) on inflammatory cells in the bronchial mucosa and on the asthma symptoms of patients with atopic asthma. In this 12-week parallel study, 32 patients were randomly allocated to either the ketotifen group (2 mg day-1, n = 13), DSCG group (8 mg day-1, n = 9) or BDP (400 micrograms day-1, n = 10). Each subject recorded daily asthma symptoms and peak expiratory flow (PEF). Before and after treatment, pulmonary function and bronchial responsiveness to methacholine were evaluated, and fibreoptic bronchoscopy and biopsy were performed before and after treatment. Biopsy specimens were obtained by bronchoscopy. We performed immunohistochemistry using specific monoclonal antibodies for activated eosinophils (EG2), mast cells (AA1), and T cells (CD3, CD4, and CD8). Our clinical findings showed significant improvement in symptom score and bronchial responsiveness (P < 0.01) each) in all groups. Both the DSCG and the BDP groups had significantly better symptom scores than the ketotifen group (P < 0.05, both groups). PEF significantly increased in the DSCG group in comparison to the ketotifen (P < 0.01) and BDP (P < 0.05) groups, FEV1% increased significantly in the DSCG (P < 0.01) and BDP (P < 0.05) groups in comparison to the ketotifen group. Compared with their baseline values, treatment significantly decreased EG2+ activated eosinophils, and CD3+ and CD4+ T cells, in each group (P < 0.01). Both the DSCG (P < 0.05) and the BDP groups (P < 0.01) exhibited significant decreases in AA1+ mast cell count, but this was not observed in the ketotifen group. Comparing before- and after-treatment values, only the DSCG group exhibited a significant decrease in the number of CD8+ T cells (P < 0.01). Ketotifen, DSCG, and BDP all showed anti-inflammatory activity as determined by examination of the bronchial mucosa of asthmatic patients; and both the DSCG and BDP groups had better clinical responses than the ketotifen group.