1.The aim of the study was to determine the carbachol and albuterol responsiveness in treated and untreated asthmatic and allergic children exposed to environmental tobacco smoke assessed by urinary cotinine measurements.

2.Forty-six asthmatic and allergic children with normal spirometric values were recruited. The doubling dose, concentration of carbachol producing a 2-fold increase in specific airway resistance (SRaw) was determined and 200 ;μg of albuterol were administered via a Volumatic® spacer. The percentage of bronchodilatation was defined as the difference between the largest obtained SRaw and the post-β2 SRaw divided by the largest SRaw. Data were compared by a Mann–Whitney U-test.

3.The 23 children with a high urinary cotinine, compared with the 23 children without urinary cotinine, had a decreased doubling dose (108.2±14.7 ;μg versus 160.9±19.5 ;μg; P = 0.04) and an increased percentage of bronchodilatation (74.8±1.4% versus 68.8±1.8%; P = 0.03). A prophylactic anti-inflammatory treatment induced a weaker bronchial reactivity to carbachol and a slightly greater bronchodilatation in children exposed to environmental tobacco smoke.

4.Environmental tobacco smoke increases bronchial reactivity in asthmatic and allergic children. This effect might be reduced by anti-inflammatory therapy. The bronchodilator response may be enhanced in exposed children and may be caused by one or several direct interactions between tobacco smoke compounds and albuterol.

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