Children receiving treatment for HIV infections are at an increased risk of developing asthma say researchers.
In the study led by Dr William T. Shearer, professor of paediatrics and immunology at BCM in Houston and chief of the allergy and immunology service at Texas Children's Hospitaland evaluated the use of asthma medication among children with HIV who took the anti-HIV drugs and those who did not.
They found that about one-third of those on the anti-HIV medications used asthma drugs compared to 11.5 percent of those who did not take anti-HIV drugs.
"We think this occurs because important immune system components called CD4 cells increase in children treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy," said Dr Shearer.
CD4 cells are thought to be associated with the inflammation in the lung tissue that accompanies asthma. When CD4 cells decline in children with HIV, their asthma symptoms also decrease.
"This AIDS model of asthma might help understand at a molecular level what is causing the current epidemic of asthma among children more generally," he added.
The report appears online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.