Evaluation of blood vessels and edema in the airways of asthma patients: Regulation with clarithromycin treatment

Hong Wei Chu, Monica Kraft, Michael D. Rex, Richard J. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Although airway angiogenesis and edema have been proposed to contribute to the airway remodeling process in patients with asthma, there are few studies looking at these structural components in the airway tissue of asthma patients. Mycoplasma infection may be associated with chronic asthma and has been shown to induce angiogenesis and edema in a murine model. Participants and measurements: We evaluated blood vessels and edema by immunohistochemistry in endobronchial biopsy samples from 10 normal control subjects and 15 patients with mild-to-moderate asthma before and after a 6-week treatment with clarithromycin (n = 8) or placebo (n = 7). Type IV collagen and α2-macroglobulin were used to identify blood vessels and edema in the tissue, respectively. Mycoplasma pneumoniae was evaluated by polymerase chain reaction. Setting: National Jewish Medical and Research Center. Results: At baseline, the vascularity, the number of blood vessels, and the edematous area in the airway tissue were not significantly different between asthmatic patients and normal control subjects. However, asthmatic patients demonstrated increased blood vessel size compared with normal control subjects (p = 0.03). After clarithromycin treatment in asthmatic patients, the number of blood vessels was increased (p = 0.02), while edema decreased (p = 0.049). Asthmatic patients who tested positive for M pneumoniae showed a significant increase in vascularity than asthmatic patients who tested negative for M pneumoniae (p = 0.02). Conclusion: Our data suggest that angiogenesis and edema may not be significant features of airway remodeling in patients with chronic, mild-to-moderate asthma. Clarithromycin treatment in asthmatic patients could reduce the edematous area as identified by α2-macroglobulin staining, which may lead to airway tissue shrinkage and cause an artificial increase in the number of blood vessels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-422
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Asthma
  • Blood vessel
  • Edema
  • Mycoplasma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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