DOI: 10.2500/aap.2024.45.230090 ISSN: 1088-5412

Impact of steroids on the immune profiles of children with asthma living in the inner-city

Aishwarya Navalpakam, Narin Thanaputkaiporn, Crystal Aijja, Wimwipa Mongkonsritragoon, Ahmad Farooqi, Jenny Huang, Pavadee Poowuttkul
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • General Medicine
  • Immunology and Allergy

Background: Inner-city asthma is associated with high morbidity and systemic steroid use. Chronic steroid use impacts immune function; however, there is a lack of data with regard to the extent of immunosuppression in patients with asthma and who are receiving frequent systemic steroids. Objective: To identify the impact of frequent systemic steroid bursts on the immune function of children with asthma who live in the inner city. Methods: Children ages 3‐18 years with asthma were divided into study (≥2 systemic steroid bursts/year) and control groups (0‐1 systemic steroid bursts/year). Lymphocyte subsets; mitogen proliferation assay; total immunoglobulin G (IgG) value, and pneumococcal and diphtheria/tetanus IgG values were evaluated. Results: Ninety-one participants were enrolled (study group [n = 42] and control group [n = 49]). There was no difference in adequate pneumococcal IgG value, diphtheria/tetanus IgG value, mitogen proliferation assays, lymphocyte subsets, and IgG values between the two groups. Children who received ≥2 steroid bursts/year had a significantly lower median pneumococcal IgG serotype 7F value. Most of the immune laboratory results were normal except for the pneumococcal IgG value. Most of the participants (n/N = 72/91 [79%]) had an inadequate pneumococcal IgG level (<7/14 serotypes ≥1.3 µg/mL). The participants with inadequate pneumococcal IgG level and who received a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine 23 (PPSV23) boost had a robust response. There was no significant difference in infection, steroid exposure, asthma severity, or morbidities between those with adequate versus inadequate pneumococcal IgG values. Conclusion: Children with asthma who live in the inner city and receive ≥2 steroid bursts/year do not have a significantly different immune profile from those who receive ≤1 steroid bursts/year do not have a significantly different immune profile from those who do not. Although appropriately vaccinated, most participants had an inadequate pneumococcal IgG level, regardless of steroid exposure and asthma severity. These children may benefit from PPSV23.

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