Increased airway reactivity has been found in family members of school age children and adults with asthma. As the relation between recurrent wheeze in infancy and bronchial reactivity is not yet clear, it was decided to test bronchial reactivity to methacholine in both parents of 50 preschool age children with recurrent wheeze and in 200 population based controls matched for sex, age, smoking habits, and atopy. Wheezy children fulfilled the following criteria: first attack of wheezing before the age of 2 years, at least four wheezing episodes triggered by a respiratory infection, negative skin prick tests, and no symptoms related to allergy. Four parents and five controls did not undergo the methacholine challenge because their forced expiratory volume in one second was < 80% of the predicted value. Methacholine reactivity was not significantly different in parents and controls. In summary, an increased bronchial responsiveness was not found in parents of infants and young children with recurrent wheeze triggered by infection.
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