The common cold is a significant cause of morbidity world-wide, with human rhinovirus infections accounting for a majority colds suffered each year. While the symptoms of the common cold are generally mild and self-limiting, vulnerable populations such as individuals with asthma can experience severe secondary complications including acute asthma exacerbation which can result in severe morbidity. Most human rhinovirus types utilize Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 (ICAM-1) as a receptor to enter cells and initiate infection. Expression of this cell-surface protein is elevated in the respiratory tract of asthma patients. The theoretical basis for this research is the observation that plasma measures of the soluble form of Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 (sICAM-1) decrease in response to vitamin C supplementation. As rhinovirus infection occurs in the upper respiratory tract, the primary aim of this study was to evaluate change in sICAM-1 concentration in nasal lavage of asthmatic individuals in response to vitamin C supplementation. Otherwise healthy asthmatic adults between the ages of 18-65 years who were not currently using steroidal nasal sprays, smoking, or actively training for competitive sports were recruited from a university community and surrounding area to participate in an 18-day double-blind randomized placebo-controlled supplement study with a parallel arm design. 13 subjects were stratified based on age, gender, BMI and baseline plasma vitamin C level to receive either 500 mg vitamin C twice daily (VTC, n=7) or placebo (PLC, n=6). Biochemical measures included nasal lavage sICAM-1, plasma sICAM-1, plasma histamine, and plasma vitamin C. Survey measures included Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey-21 to assess colds, Daytime Symptom Diary Scale to assess asthma symptoms, and measures of diet quality including a vitamin C food frequency questionnaire and Rapid Eating Assessment for Participants. No between group comparison of means reached significance (Mann-Whitney U test, p>0.05). Nasal lavage sICAM-1 levels were decreased in VTC group by 37% at study day 4, although this finding did not reach significance. Findings in this study can be used to develop future investigations into the response of nasal lavage sICAM-1 to vitamin C supplementation.
- The effect of vitamin C supplementation on sICAM-1 in asthmatic study participants
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