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01.12.2018 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Respiratory Research 1/2018

Serum sST2 levels predict severe exacerbation of asthma

Respiratory Research > Ausgabe 1/2018
Masato Watanabe, Keitaro Nakamoto, Toshiya Inui, Mitsuru Sada, Kojiro Honda, Masaki Tamura, Yukari Ogawa, Takuma Yokoyama, Takeshi Saraya, Daisuke Kurai, Haruyuki Ishii, Hajime Takizawa
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12931-018-0872-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Neutrophilic inflammation is associated with poorly controlled asthma. Serum levels of sST2, a soluble IL-33 receptor, increase in neutrophilic lung diseases. We hypothesized that high serum sST2 levels in stable asthmatics are a predictor for exacerbation within a short duration.


This prospective observational study evaluated the serum sST2 levels of 104 asthmatic patients who were treated by a lung disease specialist with follow-ups for 3 months.


High serum sST2 levels (> 18 ng/ml) predicted severe asthma exacerbation within 3 months. Serum sST2 levels correlated positively with asthma severity (treatment step), airway H2O2 levels, and serum IL-8 levels. High serum sST2 levels and blood neutrophilia (> 6000 /μl) were independent predictors of exacerbation. We defined a post-hoc exacerbation-risk score combining high serum sST2 level and blood neutrophilia, which stratified patients into four groups. The score predicted exacerbation-risk with an area under curve of 0.91 in the receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Patients with the highest scores had the most severe phenotype, with 85.7% showing exacerbation, airflow limitation, and corticosteroid-insensitivity.


High serum sST2 levels predicted exacerbation within the general asthmatic population and, when combined with blood neutrophil levels, provided an exacerbation-risk score that was an accurate predictor of exacerbation occurring within 3 months.
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