Long-term corticosteroid effect on lymphocyte and polymorphonuclear cell function in asthmatics

Jih Lih Chiang, Roy Patterson*, John J. McGillen, John P. Phair, Mary Roberts, Kathleen E. Harris, Kathleen S. Riesing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The effect of long-term alternate-day steroid administration on lymphocyte and polymorphonuclear cell (PMN) functions was studied in 10 steroid-dependent adult asthmatic patients. The duration of alternate-day prednisone usage ranged from 3 to 12 yr with an average of 6.7 ± 3.6 yr. Maintenance steroid dosage at the time of study ranged from 20 to 50 mg on alternate days, averaging 31 ± 8 mg. Prednisone caused marked lymphopenia, suppression of phytohemagglutin (PHA) lymphocyte transformation and PMN adherence 4 hr after ingestion. By 24 hr these measurements returned to normal or higher. These effects appeared at all doses between 20 and 50 mg of prednisone. In contrast, there was no statistically significant suppression of the total leukocyte count, total and active erythrocyte (E) rosette-forming lymphocytes, serum immunoglobulin concentrations, polymorphonuclear cell (PMN) phagocytosis, or delayed skin reactivity. We conclude that the acute effects of prednisone on lymphocyte and PMN function are transient and return to normal levels by 24 hr. The continued administration of beclomethasone dipropionate by inhalation did not interfere with the recovery of the transient leukocyte abnormalities induced by oral prednisone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-268
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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