Blood Eosinophil Count as a Predictor of Lung Function Decline in Healthy Individuals

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Background: Little is known about the effect of blood eosinophil count (BEC) on a decline in lung function in healthy individuals. Objective: Using a well-established health screening database, we assessed the associations between BEC and a decline in lung function, measured as the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1). Methods: Serial BEC and FEV1 data were analyzed using linear mixed models adjusted for gender, height, and smoking status. The association between BEC consistency and a decline in FEV1 was evaluated in subpopulation analyses. Results: A total of 4634 individuals were enrolled. The mean number of health screenings was 7.49 over an average of 11.74 years of observation. A higher log2-transformed BEC was significantly associated with a greater decline in FEV1 that was stronger in nonsmokers (P = 8.56 × 10−8) than in smokers (P = 1.52 × 10−3). In subpopulation analyses of 2018 individuals with consistent BECs, those with BECs consistently ≥100/μL (P = 4.58 × 10−6), ≥200/μL (P = 3.53 × 10−7), and ≥300/μL (P = 1.12 × 10−3) had a significantly higher dose-dependent FEV1 decline than those with BECs consistently <100/μL. A BEC threshold of 100/μL in nonsmokers and 200/μL in smokers may predict an accelerated decline in FEV1. Conclusions: BEC is associated with a decline in FEV1, and a consistently high BEC is an independent risk factor for an accelerated decline in FEV1. These results suggest the use of the BEC to identify healthy individuals at high risk for developing chronic lung disease, which in turn may enable a tailored preventive strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-399.e1
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Blood
  • Eosinophils
  • Forced expiratory volume
  • Healthy volunteers
  • Trajectory

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