Supplementary Material for: Adult Serum Cytokine Concentrations and the Persistence of Asthma

<b><i>Background:</i></b> Cytokines play a pivotal role in regulating the development and persistence of the inflammatory process in asthma. Our aim was to investigate whether asthma persistence or remission is associated with a specific cytokine profile. <b><i>Methods:</i></b> The Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study followed participants from 7 to 44 years of age. Serum concentrations of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) were measured at age 44 years. Participants were categorized into five phenotypes (early-onset noncurrent asthma, early-onset current asthma, late-onset noncurrent asthma and late-onset current asthma). Those who had never had asthma formed the reference group. Multivariable linear regression was used to compare serum cytokine concentrations between each phenotype and the reference group. <b><i>Results:</i></b> IL-10 concentrations were significantly lower in serum from the early-onset current asthma group than in the reference group (ratio of geometric means 0.58; 95% confidence interval 0.33-0.99; p = 0.048). IL-6 concentrations for the late-onset remitted group were also significantly lower than in the reference group (p = 0.009). The TNF-α concentrations were significantly lower for both early-and late-onset remitted asthma phenotypes when compared with the reference group. No associations were detected between serum concentrations of IL-4, IL-5 or IL-8 and these specific longitudinal asthma phenotypes. <b><i>Conclusion:</i></b> Our findings suggest a possible role for deficient IL-10 responses in the persistence of early-onset asthma. Lower IL-6 and TNF-α concentrations in serum from those with remitted asthma suggest that these proinflammatory cytokines may be actively suppressed during asthma remission.