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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Circulating mast cell progenitors increase during natural birch pollen exposure in allergic asthma patients

Alvarado-Vazquez, P. Abigail; Mendez-Enriquez, Erika; Salomonsson, Maya; Waern, Ida; Janson, Christer; Wernersson, Sara; Malinovschi, Andrei; Hallgren, Jenny

Abstract

Background Mast cells (MCs) develop from a rare population of peripheral blood circulating MC progenitors (MCps). Here, we investigated whether the frequency of circulating MCps is altered in asthma patients sensitized to birch pollen during pollen season, compared to out of season.Methods Asthma patients were examined during birch pollen season in late April to early June (May), and out of season in November-January. Spirometry measurements, asthma and allergy-related symptoms, asthma control questionnaire (ACQ), and asthma control test (ACT) scores were assessed at both time points. The MCp frequency was determined by flow cytometry in ficoll-separated blood samples from patients with positive birch pollen-specific IgE, and analyzed in relation to basic and disease parameters.Results The frequency of MCps per liter of blood was higher in May than in November (p=.004), particularly in women (p=.009). Patients that reported moderate to severe asthma symptoms (<.0001), nose or eye symptoms (p=.02; p=.01), or reduced asthma control (higher ACQ, p=.01) had higher MCp frequency in May than those that did not report this. These associations remained significant after adjusting for sex and BMI. The change in asthma control to a lower ACT score in May correlated with an increase in MCp frequency in May (p=.006, rho=0.46).Conclusions The data suggest that the frequency of MCps increases in symptomatic patients with allergic asthma. Our results unravel a link between asthma symptoms and circulating MCps, and bring new insight into the impact of natural allergen exposure on the expansion of MCs.

Keywords

asthma control; asthma symptoms; Betula; Fc epsilon RI; mast cell

Published in

Allergy
2023, Volume: 78, number: 11, pages: 2959-2968
Publisher: WILEY