Article Type

Original Study


Objectives Magnesium (Mg) is thought to be an important element in the pathogenesis of acute asthma attacks. This study aimed at investigating plasma and erythrocyte Mg of acute asthmatic children and correlating them with asthma severity. Background Continuous efforts are still exerted to understand the natural history and pathogenesis of acute asthma to alleviate its burden on children and their families. Mg is an abundant intracellular cation. It is involved in numerous physiological functions, including protein folding, intracellular signaling, enzymatic reactions involving protein and nucleic acid metabolisms, and enzyme catalysis. Mg is involved in pathophysiological reactions related to asthma; it has been shown to relax bronchial smooth muscles in vitro and to dilate asthmatic airways in vivo. It has been shown that intravenous administration or inhalation of Mg could alleviate symptoms in acute asthma. Patients and methods This case-control study included 43 Egyptian outpatients with acute asthma. A total of 21 apparently matched healthy children were included as controls. All candidates had measurements of plasma and erythrocytic Mg levels during an acute asthma exacerbation. Findings No significant differences were detected in plasma Mg levels between cases and controls (0.71 ± 0.12 vs. 0.76 ± 0.1 mmol/l, respectively, P = 0.14). However, erythrocytic Mg levels were significantly reduced in cases when compared with controls (1.2 ± 0.08 vs. 2.01 ± 0.14 mmol/l, respectively, P < 0.001). Conclusion Erythrocytic Mg levels were significantly lower during acute asthma, and were negatively correlated with severity of exacerbation, whereas plasma Mg did not significantly change.