A novel assay for improved detection of sputum periostin in patients with asthma

BIOAIR consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background Serum periostin associates with type-2 inflammation in asthmatic airways, but also reflects whole body periostin levels originating from multiple sources. Less is known about sputum periostin as a biomarker in asthma as detection levels are low using currently available periostin assays. We aimed to investigate detection of sputum periostin using ELISA assays targeting different periostin epitopes and relate levels to clinical characteristics. Methods Two ELISA systems were developed using antibodies detecting whole periostin or cleavage products, the molecular weight and amino acid sequences of which were confirmed. The ELISA assays were applied to sputum from 80 patients with mild-to-moderate and severe asthma enrolled in the European, multi-center study BIOAIR. Results were related to clinical characteristics. Results Sputum was found to contain smaller periostin fragments, possibly due to proteolytic cleavage at a C-terminal site. Comparing ELISA methodology using antibodies against cleaved versus whole periostin revealed detectable levels in 90% versus 44% of sputum samples respectively. Sputum periostin showed associations with blood and sputum eosinophils. Furthermore, sputum, but not serum, periostin correlated with reduced lung function and sputum IL-13 and was reduced by oral corticosteroid treatment. Conclusions We present an ELISA method for improved analysis of sputum periostin by detecting cleavage products of the periostin protein. Using this assay, sputum periostin was detectable and associated with more disease-relevant parameters in asthma than serum periostin. Sputum periostin is worth considering as a phenotype-specific biomarker in asthma as its proximity to the airways may eliminate some of the confounding factors known to affect serum periostin.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0281356
Issue number2 February
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023

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