Eosinophil cationic protein and eosinophil protein X in the nasal lavage of children during the first 4 weeks of life

G. Halmerbauer, C. Gartner, D. Koller, M. Schierl, J. Kühr, J. Forster, R. Urbanek, T. Frischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) and eosinophil protein X (EPX) are well established as markers of eosinophil activation. We analyzed ECP and EPX concentrations in nasal lavage fluids (NALF) of 378 neonates during their first 4 weeks of life. Inclusion criteria were a positive history of parental allergy and a positive skin prick test or specific IgE (RAST class ≥2) against at least one out of a panel of common aeroallergens in one or both parents. Twenty-four infants with no history of parental allergy were used as controls. A volume of 2 ml of 0.9% saline was instilled into each nostril and immediately recovered by a suction device. ECP and EPX were analyzed by radioimmunoassay. In 65 samples of three consecutive lavages, EPX was detected in nine samples (13.8%) in the control group, whereas it was detected in 197/360 samples (54.7%) in the study population. The corresponding figures for ECP were 17/65 (26.2%) in the control group and 173/365 (47.4%) in the study group. Both proteins showed a skewed distribution (median/5-95th percentiles for ECP: 0 μg/l [0.69.4] and EPX: 6.6 μg/l [0-73.2]). The differences between the control group and the study group were statistically significant, regardless of the allergic disease of the parents. In children of allergic parents, activation proteins of the eosinophil granulocyte are released on the nasal mucosal surface in about 50% of the studied population at the age of 4 weeks. This early onset of eosinophil activation in the nasal respiratory epithelium may reflect a genetic predisposition to allergy or early exposure to allergens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1126
Number of pages6
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Eosinophil cationic protein
  • Eosinophil protein X
  • Eosinophil Granule Proteins
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Nasal Mucosa/immunology
  • Male
  • Eosinophils/chemistry
  • Nasal Lavage Fluid/chemistry
  • Ribonucleases
  • Hypersensitivity/genetics
  • Female
  • Infant, Newborn/immunology
  • Blood Proteins/metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Eosinophil cationic protein and eosinophil protein X in the nasal lavage of children during the first 4 weeks of life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this