Inhaled Corticosteroids on Airway Smooth Muscle in Asthma


The main objective is to evaluate how treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) affects the characteristics of airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells from asthmatic subjects. Our hypothesis is that airway smooth muscle cell dysfunction plays an important role in the pathogenesis of asthma, and that treatment with inhaled corticosteroids reverses the abnormalities in airway smooth muscle cell function.

Full Title of Study: “The Effect of Inhaled Corticosteroids (ICS) on Airway Smooth Muscle in Asthma”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: N/A
    • Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Basic Science
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: December 2010

Detailed Description

Aims and Objectives Most of the work published to date on the effect of steroids on ASM has been carried out in animal models or in in vitro experiments. We would like to evaluate in vivo whether abnormalities in ASM function respond to ICS. Because ASM cells can be obtained from bronchial biopsies obtained via bronchoscopy, we will examine endobronchial biopsies from corticosteroid-naïve, mild asthmatic subjects. In particular, we will examine whether ICS have any effect ASM mass, proliferation and expression of different contractile proteins (α-actin and myosin) and chemokines, and will assess in vitro the response of ASM cells to stimulation by TGF-β and IL-1β. We will also examine the effect of dexamethasone on chemokine release and induced proliferation in vitro before and after treatment with ICS. We will examine the effect of inhaled corticosteroids in 12 subjects with mild asthma. The subjects will be studied during a baseline period and again after receiving treatment with inhaled corticosteroid therapy with Budesonide Turbohaler (400 ug bd) for 4 weeks. The results of these two periods will be compared. There will be 5 study visits. In the first two visits, the subjects will undergo spirometry with reversibility testing, a methacholine challenge test, skin prick tests and IgE levels, measurement of exhaled nitric oxide, and subjects will complete an Asthma Control Questionnaire and an Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire. The third visit will be the day admission for the bronchoscopy. They will be given asthma control diary cards to complete during the 4-week treatment with ICS and receive their ICS turbohaler. At visit 4, they will have repeat spirometry and methacholine challenge to assess if there has been a change secondary to treatment with ICS. The final visit will be for the second bronchoscopy, when the dairy card and ICS inhaler will be collected, and the subjects will complete the Asthma Control and Quality of Life questionnaire.


  • Drug: budesonide
    • inhaled budesonide (turbohaler) 400 micrograms twice a day for 4 weeks

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: overall

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Changes in ASM mass, proliferation and migration after ICS therapy; changes in chemokine release after ICS therapy
    • Time Frame: 4 weeks

Secondary Measures

  • Changes in sub-basement membrane thickness and inflammatory cell count after ICS therapy
    • Time Frame: 4 weeks

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Physician diagnosis of asthma – Age 18-60 – Intermittent asthma symptoms < once/week – FEV1>80% of predicted – Not on inhaled corticosteroid therapy Exclusion Criteria:

  • Previous long-term use of inhaled corticosteroids (within 1 year of entry into study) – Past history of hypersensitivity to budesonide – Current smokers, or less than 3 years since quitting smoking – Less than 4 weeks from an exacerbation – On steroid-sparing agent or immunosuppressant such as azathioprine, methotrexate and ciclosporin – Concomitant anti-IgE therapy – Pregnancy – Previous bronchoscopy within three months of this study

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 60 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Imperial College London
  • Collaborator
    • Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Kian F Chung, MBBS FRCP MD DSc, Principal Investigator, Imperial College London

Clinical trials entries are delivered from the US National Institutes of Health and are not reviewed separately by this site. Please see the identifier information above for retrieving further details from the government database.

At, we keep tabs on over 200,000 clinical trials in the US and abroad, using medical data supplied directly by the US National Institutes of Health. Please see the About and Contact page for details.