What is it about?

To better understand severe asthma, a complex and heterogeneous disease, we looked at mRNA gene expression in the immune cells within the lungs of these patients. We found that many factors influence the gene expression in these cells, including age, sex, race and medication use. After identifying and disregarding these influences, we were able to identify important repair and anti-inflammatory proteins that were lacking in severe asthma, providing new targets for future treatments.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

To better understand the causes of severe asthma and as part of a large, multi-center study known as the Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP), researchers performed endoscopies and gathered immune cells from within the lungs of 154 asthma and healthy control volunteers. We then looked at messenger RNA (mRNA) within these cells to better understand, on a cellular level, the causes of severe disease. Interestingly, we found that the medications we use to treat asthma, namely beta agonists in rescue inhalers, are likely having a strong, previously unknown effect on the function of immune cells.


I hope people can appreciate the difficulty in performing bronchoscopies on such a large population of asthma volunteers. This work was only possible because of the large, concerted effort of SARP. I really enjoyed dissecting this complex dataset, and actually finding relevant clinical information. The data is now available online and I hope that others will also use it for further discoveries.

Dr. Brian D. Modena
National Jewish Health

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: BAL Cell Gene Expression in Severe Asthma Reveals Mechanisms of Severe Disease and Influences of Medications, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, October 2019, American Thoracic Society, DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201811-2221oc.
You can read the full text:




The following have contributed to this page