BACKGROUND: Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is a hereditary disorder involving lungs, characterized by low serum concentration of the protein alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) also called proteinase inhibitor (PI). Asthma is common in AATD patients, but there are only few data on respiratory function in asthmatic patients with AATD.OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to evaluate lung function in asthmatic outpatients with mutation in the SERPINA1 gene coding for AAT versus asthmatic subjects without mutation.METHODS: We performed the quantitative analysis of the serum concentration of AAT in 600 outpatients affected by mild to moderate asthma from the University Hospital of Parma, Italy. Fifty-seven of them underwent the genetic analysis subsequently; they were subdivided into mutated and non-mutated subjects. All the mutated patients had a heterozygous genotype, except 1 (PI*SS). We assessed the lung function through a flow-sensing spirometer and the small airway parameters through an impulse oscillometry system.RESULTS: The values of forced vital capacity (% predicted) and those of the residual volume to total lung capacity ratio (%) were, respectively, lower and higher in patients mutated versus patients without mutation, showing a significantly greater air trapping (p = 0.014 and p = 0.017, respectively). Moreover, patients with mutation in comparison to patients without mutation showed lower forced expiratory volume in 3 s (% predicted) and forced expiratory volume in 6 s (L) spirometric values, reflecting a smaller airways contribution.CONCLUSIONS: In asthmatic patients, heterozygosity for AAT with PI*MZ and PI*MS genotypes was associated with small airway dysfunction and with lung air trapping.
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