Although mediators, such as lipids, cytokines, and chemokines, are related to the appearance of an IPR, there has been no reliable indicator to predict conditions for the appearance of an IPR.
In this study, we adopted a proteomic approach to investigate the pathogenesis at the level of the plasma proteins and to develop plasma markers to predict the appearance of an IPR following an inhalation challenge with Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (D.p.). Sixteen mild asthmatics were recruited. Plasma was obtained before challenge and when a decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) values greater than 20% from the phosphate-buffered saline value was achieved during D.p. allergen challenge (positive responders), or at 60 min after the highest concentration of D.p. allergen was inhaled (negative responders). After comparing normalized volumes of the spots in the two groups, differentially expressed spots were identified using intra-gel digestion and mass spectrometric analysis. Before D.p. antigen challenge, four spots of gamma fibrinogen and its isoforms were significantly decreased and two spots of complement C3 fragments were significantly increased in the positive responders compared to the negative responders. After D.p. antigen challenge, complement C3 fragment was persistently higher, while gamma fibrinogen was lower in the positive responders than in the negative responders. A validation study using Western blotting showed that gamma fibrinogen expression in the IPR-positive asthmatics was significantly decreased compared to the average of the IPR-negative asthmatic control group. These results indicate that alterations in the complement cascade and fibrinogen may predispose patients to the appearance of an immediate response to D.p. allergen challenge and may provide plasma markers to predict the appearance of an IPR.