2015. Host Gene Expression Identifies Infectious Triggers of Asthma Exacerbation
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Diagnostics: Biomarkers and Novel Approaches
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Room: S Poster Hall
Background: Asthma exacerbations often occur due to infectious triggers. However, determining whether an infection is present and whether it is bacterial or viral remains clinically challenging leading to antibiotic overuse. A diagnostic strategy that clarifies these uncertainties can enable personalized asthma treatment and mitigate antibiotic resistance. Host gene expression is a promising alternative to pathogen-detection methods.

Methods: Forty-six patients presenting to the emergency department with asthma exacerbations were enrolled. Cases were clinically adjudicated as having bacterial, viral, or non-infectious etiologies. RT-PCR Taqman Low Density Array (TLDA) was used to quantify 87 gene targets, followed by logistic regression modeling to define class. Etiologies were correlated with clinical information including symptoms and antibiotic prescriptions.

Results: Most clinical parameters were similar between groups including duration of symptoms, presence of sick contacts, and severity of nasal symptoms, cough, headache, throat discomfort, and malaise. Only fever/chills (p=0.006) and a composite of all symptoms (p=0.02) were significantly different. In contrast to clinically adjudicated phenotypes, host response signatures identified very few bacterial triggers. Notably, none of the adjudicated bacterial cases had positive confirmatory microbiology. Instead, 29% and 57% were identified as having a viral infection or no infection, respectively. Despite the absence of bacterial infections identified using host gene expression, antibiotics were prescribed in 47.8% of all cases.

Conclusion: Host response signatures indicated that asthma exacerbation is infrequently caused by bacterial infections, even when clinical adjudications suggest this to be the case. Instead, most are either of viral or non-infectious etiologies. Despite most cases being classified as non-bacterial, empiric antibiotics were prescribed nearly half the time. A host gene expression approach can offer clinically useful diagnostic information to guide more appropriate antibiotic use among patients with asthma exacerbation.

Emily Lydon, BS1, Charles Bullard, MBA2, Mert Aydin, MSc2, Olga Better, BS2, Anna Mazur, BA2, Micah T. Mcclain, MD, PhD2, Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, MD, PhD2, Christopher W. Woods, MD, MPH, FIDSA2, Thomas Burke, PhD2, Ricardo Henao, PhD2 and Ephraim L. Tsalik, MD, MHS, PhD2,3, (1)Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, (2)Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine, Duke University, Durham, NC, (3)Emergency Department Service, Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Durham, NC


E. Lydon, None

C. Bullard, None

M. Aydin, None

O. Better, None

A. Mazur, None

M. T. Mcclain, None

G. S. Ginsburg, Host Response Inc: Board Member , Founder , Scientific Advisor and Shareholder , Stock (currently worth < $100) .

C. W. Woods, Host Response: Founder , Licensing agreement or royalty . Qvella: Collaborator , Research support . BioFire: Collaborator , none .

T. Burke, None

R. Henao, None

E. L. Tsalik, Host Response, Inc.: Founder , Equity .

Findings in the abstracts are embargoed until 12:01 a.m. PDT, Wednesday Oct. 3rd with the exception of research findings presented at the IDWeek press conferences.