Aging and airway inflammation

Giovanna Elisiana Carpagnano, Viviana Turchiarelli, Antonio Spanevello, Grazia Pia Palladino, Maria Pia Foschino Barbaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Since little is known of airways inflammation in the elderly, we have carried out a study to explore the presence of some inflammatory markers in the airways of healthy subjects of different ages using a non-invasive method which is particularly suitable for aged people. Objective: The aim of this work was to investigate whether parameters, including (1) pH, IL-8 and TNF-α in exhaled breath condensate (EBC), (2) exhaled nitric oxide levels (NO), and (3) inflammatory cell profile in induced sputum, are age-related. Materials and methods: Thirty healthy adults (10 subjects below the age of 30 [A], 10 subjects between 30 and 60 years [B], and 10 subjects over 60 years of age [C]), were enrolled in the study. IL-8 and TNF-α levels were measured in breath condensate. Exhaled pH was measured after deaeration/decarbonation by means of a pH-meter. A rapid-response chemiluminescence NO analyzer was used to quantify NO. Induced sputum was collected, homogenized with dithiothreitol, and cytospins for differential cell were produced. Results: The levels of IL-8 and TNF-α in EBC, the levels of exhaled NO, and the percentage of neutrophils in induced sputum were significantly elevated in C and B compared with A; the EBC pH level was significantly reduced in C and B compared with A. The EBC levels of IL-8, TNF-α, pH, the level of exhaled NO, and the percentage of neutrophils correlated significantly with age. Conclusion: This study has shown the presence of age-related airways inflammation in healthy subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-245
Number of pages7
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Airways inflammation
  • Elderly
  • Exhaled breath condensate
  • Exhaled nitric oxide
  • Induced sputum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Medicine(all)


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