Skip to main content


We’d like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest.

YKL-40 correlates with the phenotype of asthma


YKL-40 is a chitinase-like protein synthesized by human macrophages, monocytes, and neutrophils. Although it is not specific, YKL-40 has been shown to correlate with asthma, its severity and level of control. As asthma is heterogeneous, it would be useful to determine whether the marker’s levels correlate with phenotypes of the disease. The aim of the study was to investigate the relevance of YKL-40 as a biomarker of asthma phenotype.


Level of YKL-40 was determined by means of immunoassay in sera of 167 asthmatics (116 women, 51 men; aged 18-88; mean age: 49 years) and 81 healthy controls (50 women, 31 men; aged 18-86; mean age: 48 years). On the basis of clinical criteria asthmatics were divided into four groups: atopic – 83 patients, non-atopic - 63, aspirin asthma - 12, asthma with underlying vasculitis- 9. Differences between groups were compared with the use of U-Mann-Whitney’s test. Correlations between variables were assessed with Pearson’s test.


YKL-40 levels were significantly higher, on average, in asthmatics compared to control group (mean levels: 66,8 U/l and 44,9 U/l respectively; p<0,001). YKL-40 correlated with lack of asthma control (p<0,001) and diagnosis of exacerbation (p<0,001). The highest mean concentration was found in atopic asthmatics – 72U/l which was significantly higher compared to non-atopic patients – 61 U/l (p<0,05). Weak correlations were found between YKL-40 levels and CRP as well as FEV1. However no correlations have been found between YKL-40 level and sex, blood eosinophils count and neutrophils count.


YKL-40 correlates with asthma control, atopy, FEV1 and CRP. The latter suggests that YKL-40 concentration may depend on severity of inflammation what seems confirmed by the elevated levels in numerous inflammatory diseases and neoplasms.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Krzysztof Specjalski.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Specjalski, K., Jassem, E. YKL-40 correlates with the phenotype of asthma. World Allergy Organ J 8, A34 (2015).

Download citation