Contributions of age and sex to heterogeneity of symptoms and effectiveness of secondary prevention strategies in asthma as modeled in the guinea pig

Jean F Regal, Ronald R. Regal, Jessica L. Meehan, Mingqian Duan, Margaret E. Mohrman

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Previous studies in a guinea pig model of asthma have suggested that age and sex contribute both to the profile of asthma symptoms, i.e., asthma heterogeneity, as well as to the success of primary prevention strategies. The present study investigated the contributions of age and sex to the severity of central vs. peripheral airway hyperresponsiveness as well as to the effectiveness of secondary preventions strategies for asthma as modeled in the guinea pig. Experimental groups: Young/Young, sensitized and challenged before sexual maturity; Young/Adult, sensitized young and challenged after sexual maturity; Adult/Adult, sensitized and challenged after sexual maturity. Males and females were sensitized IP with 0.5 mg/kg ovalbumin (OVA) and challenged intratracheally with varying doses of OVA. Cellular infiltration into lung and lavage fluid, OVA specific IgG1 as well as airway hyperresponsiveness to intravenous methacholine were determined 24 hr later. Airway hyperresponsiveness in central airways and peripheral lung was assessed by measurement of airway resistance, tissue damping and tissue elastance. Airway hyperresponsiveness with allergen sensitization and challenge was evident in male and female Adult/Adult animals and male Young/Young animals. Airway hyperresponsiveness in female Young/Young animals was not significant, despite marked airway eosinophilia. Changes in tissue elastance were more evident in OVA treated Adult/Adult compared to Young/Young animals. As allergen exposure decreased, a reduction in inflammation was seen in young females before other age sex groups. OVA induced increases in eosinophils were more pronounced in Young/Adult compared to Adult/Adult animals. Our results suggest that in asthmatic children, females may clinically benefit most from secondary prevention strategies to limit allergen exposure. In adult asthmatics, changes in tissue elastance may be significant, and secondary prevention strategies may be more effective in those sensitized as children compared to those sensitized as adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of immunotoxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity DAMD 17-02-1-0191. The U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, 820 Chandler Street, Fort Detrick MD 21702-5014 is the awarding and administering acquisition office for this award. The animal husbandry provided by Jack Aldrich and Gail Boatman is gratefully acknowledged.


  • Age
  • Asthma
  • Dose-response
  • Eosinophil
  • Guinea pig
  • Inflammation
  • Sex


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