Non-allergic rhinitis in early life is strongly associated with an increased risk of adult onset asthma, the conference has heard.
Speaking at a plenary session on the early origins of asthma and COPD Professor Fernando Martinez from the Arizona Respiratory Center in the US told delegates that an emerging pattern of a link between the two diseases could indicate a target for primary prevention.
In particular evidence from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey and the Busselton trial showed that the presence of non-allergic rhinitis before the age of 6 was a very strong risk factor for the development of asthma after the age of 35.
Professor Martinez and his team are currently investigating potential reasons for the link in adult subjects by obtaining samples from the nose and looking for differences between those that develop asthma and those who don’t.
“We have a hypothesis that adults who go on to develop asthma have an alteration in innate immune responses, perhaps associated with genetic factors, that determines that they have an alteration in response to viral infections which starts in early life and expresses itself as chronic disease also in adult life,” he said.