Nasopharyngeal lipidomic endotypes of infants with bronchiolitis and risk of childhood asthma: a multicentre prospective study

Background

Bronchiolitis is the leading cause of hospitalisation of US infants and an important risk factor for childhood asthma. Recent evidence suggests that bronchiolitis is clinically heterogeneous. We sought to derive bronchiolitis endotypes by integrating clinical, virus and lipidomics data and to examine their relationship with subsequent asthma risk.

Methods

This is a multicentre prospective cohort study of infants (age <12 months) hospitalised for bronchiolitis. We identified endotypes by applying clustering approaches to clinical, virus and nasopharyngeal airway lipidomic data measured at hospitalisation. We then determined their longitudinal association with the risk for developing asthma by age 6 years by fitting a mixed-effects logistic regression model. To account for multiple comparisons of the lipidomics data, we computed the false discovery rate (FDR). To understand the underlying biological mechanism of the endotypes, we also applied pathway analyses to the lipidomics data.

Results

Of 917 infants with bronchiolitis (median age, 3 months), we identified clinically and biologically meaningful lipidomic endotypes: (A) cinicalclassiclipidmixed (n=263), (B) clinicalseverelipidsphingolipids-high (n=281), (C) clinicalmoderatelipidphospholipids-high (n=212) and (D) clinicalatopiclipidsphingolipids-low (n=161). Endotype A infants were characterised by ‘classic’ clinical presentation of bronchiolitis. Profile D infants were characterised by a higher proportion of parental asthma, IgE sensitisation and rhinovirus infection and low sphingolipids (eg, sphingomyelins, ceramides). Compared with endotype A, profile D infants had a significantly higher risk of asthma (22% vs 50%; unadjusted OR, 3.60; 95% CI 2.31 to 5.62; p<0.001). Additionally, endotype D had a significantly lower abundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids (eg, docosahexaenoic acid; FDR=0.01). The pathway analysis revealed that sphingolipid metabolism pathway was differentially expressed in endotype D (FDR=0.048).

Conclusions

In this multicentre prospective cohort study of infants with bronchiolitis, integrated clustering of clinical, virus and lipidomic data identified clinically and biologically distinct endotypes that have a significantly differential risk for developing asthma.Delete