BACKGROUND: It has been hypothesized that obesity and insulin resistance may play a role in the development of asthma and allergy. The aim of the study was to examine the association of obesity and insulin resistance with asthma and aeroallergen sensitization. METHODS: Cross-sectional population-based study of 3609 Danish men and women aged 30-60 years. Aeroallergen sensitization was defined as positive levels of specific IgE against a panel of inhalant allergens. Asthma was defined as self-reported physician diagnosed asthma. Allergic asthma was defined as the presence of both asthma and aeroallergen sensitization. The homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance was used to estimate the degree of insulin resistance. Body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and waist circumference were used as measures of obesity. Data were analyzed by multiple logistic regression analyses. RESULTS: Obesity was associated with increased risk of aeroallergen sensitization as well as allergic and nonallergic asthma. Insulin resistance was asssociated with aeroallergen sensitization and allergic asthma, but not nonallergic asthma. The associations of obesity with aeroallegen sensitization and allergic asthma became nonsignificant after adjustment for insulin resistance, whereas the association of obesity with nonallergic asthma was unaffected. No sex-differences were observed. CONCLUSION: Obesity may be related to an increased risk of aeroallergen sensitization and allergic asthma through mechanisms also involved in the development of insulin resistance.
The occurrence of house dust mites (Dermatophagoides spp) was investigated in the homes of 26 patients with atopic dermatitis (AD), 20 patients with psoriasis and 41 randomly selected homes in Arhus, Denmark. The AD patients with moderate to severe eczema had an increased concentration of mites (median 85 mites/0.1 g mattress dust) compared with the controls (median 8 mites/0.1 g mattress dust). The higher exposure to house dust mites corresponded to a relative risk of 4.6 and a clear dose-response relationship between exposure and disease could be demonstrated. Our results illustrate a clear association between moderate to severe atopic dermatitis and increased exposure to house dust mites in the patients' homes, and support the hypothesis that mite antigens could be an aetiological factor in atopic dermatitis.
BACKGROUND: Asthma has been reported to be rare among Inuits, but so far total and specific IgE levels have never been determined in arctic populations. OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of atopy in children living in an arctic environment, and to examine whether atopy and total IgE levels were associated with parental place of birth, as a measure of ethnicity, and travel history. MATERIAL AND METHODS: All schoolchildren in Sisimiut, a community on the West coast of Greenland, were screened for atopy. Blood samples were analysed for total IgE and for specific IgE against inhalant and food allergens. Information on place of birth of children and their parents was obtained from national registries. Information on travel history was obtained from self-administered questionnaires. RESULTS: A total of 1031 schoolchildren aged 5 to 18 years had a blood sample drawn (85% of available children for the study). Of these, 151 (14.6%) children were sensitized to at least one inhalant allergen and 42 (4.1%) to at least one food allergen. Sensitization to grass was most common, whereas sensitization to mugwort, birch, animal-dander and house-dust mite was infrequent. Children whose parents were both born abroad had a higher risk of sensitization to inhalant allergens compared with children born of Greenlandic parents (OR = 8.6, 95% CI 2.8-27.1). Furthermore, children who had been abroad had a higher risk of sensitization towards pollen (OR = 1.6, 95% CI 1.0-2.5) and animal-dander (OR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.0-4.6) after adjustment for confounders. Both atopic and non-atopic children demonstrated high levels of total IgE (medians of 251 and 58 kU/L). CONCLUSIONS: Compared with European findings Greenlandic children have high levels of total IgE but a low prevalence of allergic sensitization towards inhalant allergens. This may be due to a low genetic susceptibility to atopy and less allergen exposure, as well as to living conditions in an arctic environment.
Krefting Research Centre / Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. email@example.com
The harmful effects of tobacco smoke on human health, including respiratory health, are extensive and well documented. Previous data on the effect of smoking on rhinitis and allergic sensitization are inconsistent. We sought to investigate how smoking correlates with prevalence of allergic and chronic rhinitis among adults in Sweden.
The study population comprised 27 879 subjects derived from three large randomly selected cross-sectional population surveys conducted in Sweden between 2006 and 2008. The same postal questionnaire on respiratory health was used in the three surveys, containing questions about obstructive respiratory diseases, rhinitis, respiratory symptoms and possible determinants of disease, including smoking habits. A random sample from one of the cohorts underwent a clinical examination including skin prick testing.
Smoking was associated with a high prevalence of chronic rhinitis in both men and women and a low prevalence of allergic rhinitis in men. These associations were dose dependent and remained when adjusted for a number of possible confounders in multiple logistic regression analysis. Prevalence of chronic rhinitis was lowest in nonsmokers and highest in very heavy smokers (18.5% vs 34.5%, P
S100A7 is a calcium-binding protein with chemotactic and antimicrobial properties. S100A7 protein levels are decreased in nasal lavage fluid from individuals with ongoing allergic rhinitis, suggesting a role for S100A7 in allergic airway inflammation. The aims of this study were to describe genetic variation in S100A7 and search for associations between this variation and allergic rhinitis.
Peripheral blood was collected from 184 atopic patients with a history of pollen-induced allergic rhinitis and 378 non-atopic individuals, all of Swedish origin. DNA was extracted and the S100A7 gene was resequenced in a subset of 47 randomly selected atopic individuals. Nine polymorphisms were genotyped in 184 atopic and 378 non-atopic individuals and subsequently investigated for associations with allergic rhinitis as well as skin prick test results. Haplotypes were estimated and compared in the two groups.
Thirteen polymorphisms were identified in S100A7, of which 7 were previously undescribed. rs3014837 (G/C), which gives rise to an Asp --> Glu amino acid shift, had significantly increased minor allele frequency in atopic individuals. The major haplotype, containing the major allele at all sites, was more common in non-atopic individuals, while the haplotype containing the minor allele at rs3014837 was equally more common among the atopic individuals. Additionally, heterozygotes at this site had significantly higher scores in skin prick tests for 9 out of 11 tested allergens, compared to homozygotes.
This is the first study describing genetic variation, associated with allergy, in S100A7. The results indicate that rs3014837 is linked to allergic rhinitis in our Swedish population and render S100A7 a strong candidate for further investigations regarding its role in allergic inflammation.
The reported prevalence of allergic sensitization among children is lower in rural areas than in urban areas of the world. The aim was to investigate the urban-rural differences of allergic sensitization to inhalant allergens in adults depending on childhood exposure living in an industrialized country as Denmark.
A total of 1236 male participants of 30-40 years of age recruited from two epidemiological studies were divided into four groups with regard to place of upbringing; city, town, rural area and farm. Allergic sensitization was assessed by skin prick tests (SPTs) to 10 inhalant allergens and measurements of serum specific IgE (sIgE) to four inhalant allergens (grass, birch, cat and house dust mite).
The prevalence of allergic sensitization to inhalant allergens decreased with decreasing degree of urbanized childhood. The risk of being sensitized to one or more allergens also decreased with decreasing degree of urbanized upbringing measured by sIgE to 4 common allergens as odds ratio with 95% confidence intervals with city as reference; town 0.60 (0.39-0.92), rural area 0.34 (0.22-0.52) and farm 0.31 (0.21-0.46). Furthermore, it was measured by SPT to 10 common allergens; town 0.52 (0.33-0.84), rural area 0.34 (0.21-0.53) and farm 0.29 (0.19-0.45). This urban-rural association was also seen for the risk of sensitization to specific allergens, rhinitis and allergic asthma.
This is the first study to show an urban-rural gradient of overall allergic sensitization and specific allergen sensitization in adults depending on their childhood exposure. In this highly homogenous western population, exposure to a less urbanized childhood was associated with lower risk of allergic sensitization and disease as an adult.
We aimed to assess the prevalence of allergic sensitization and multiple sensitization, risk factors, and the clinical impact of being sensitized in the adult population of Helsinki, Finland.
As a part of the FinEsS study, a population-based random sample of 498 adults aged 26-60 years were tested for 15 common aeroallergens with skin prick tests (SPTs) and interviewed on respiratory symptoms and diseases, including respiratory irritants and childhood environment.
The prevalence of at least one positive prick test was 46.9%. A large difference by age was found: 56.8% were sensitized among those aged 26-39 years, 49.2% in the age group 40-49 years, and 35.6% in the age group 50-60 years (P
BACKGROUND: It is unknown which factors in modern western society that have caused the current increase in prevalence of allergic diseases. Improved hygiene, smaller families, altered exposure to allergens have been suggested. OBJECTIVES: To assess the relationship between exposure to pets in early life, family size, allergic manifestations and allergic sensitization at 7-9 and 12-13 years of age. METHODS: The prevalence of allergic diseases and various background factors were assessed in 1991 and 1996 by questionnaire studies. In 1991, the study comprised representative samples of children from the Göteborg area on the Swedish west coast (7 years old, n = 1649) and the inland town Kiruna in northern Sweden (7-9 years old, n = 832). In 1992, a validation interview and skin prick test (SPT) were performed in a stratified sub-sample of 412 children. In 1996, this subgroup was followed up with identical questions about clinical symptoms as in 1991, detailed questions about early pet exposure were added and SPT performed. RESULTS: Children exposed to pets during the first year of life had a lower frequency of allergic rhinitis at 7-9 years of age and of asthma at 12-13 years. Children exposed to cat during the first year of life were less often SPT positive to cat at 12-13 years. The results were similar when those children were excluded, whose parents had actively decided against pet keeping during infancy because of allergy in the family. There was a negative correlation between the number of siblings and development of asthma and allergic rhinitis. CONCLUSION: Pet exposure during the first year of life and increasing number of siblings were both associated with a lower prevalence of allergic rhinitis and asthma in school children.
Environmental exposures during early life have been suggested to have the greatest impact on childhood asthma. Our aim was to evaluate the risk factors associated with asthma at age 7 yr in a high-risk cohort that participated in a randomized controlled study on the primary prevention of asthma. Indoor exposures were characterized before birth and at 2 weeks, 4, 8, 12, 18, and 24 months after birth and again at 7 yr. Nasal scrapings for respiratory viruses were done at the same intervals during the first 2 yr. At age 7, the children were assessed by a pediatric allergist and had allergy skin tests. Logistic regression analysis was undertaken to evaluate the effect of exposures on asthma for the entire cohort with adjustment for group allocation. In addition to the lower risk of asthma in the intervention group, we found a higher prevalence of asthma at age 7 for males, those having a positive history of asthma in mother, father, or older siblings, for children residing in Winnipeg and for atopic subjects. Upon adjustment for intervention group assignment and baseline factors, significant environmental risk factors during year 1 included dog ownership and respiratory syncytial viral infection detected at 12 months while maternal smoking was protective. Dog ownership was a significant risk factor in year 2, but highly correlated with dog ownership in year 1. Indoor environmental exposures during year 7 were not associated with asthma at age 7. Maternal smoking at year 7 was associated with a reduced risk of asthma at 7 yr. Early-life exposures were more important determinants than those in later years. A 'window of opportunity' exists for intervention measures to be applied.
The prevalence of allergic rhinitis has increased, but the cause of this rise is partly unknown. Our aim was to analyse the prevalence, risk factors, and protective factors for allergic rhinitis in 12-year-old Swedish children.
Data were collected from a prospective, longitudinal cohort study of children born in western Sweden in 2003. The parents answered questionnaires when the children were 6 months to 12 years. The response rate at 12 years was 76% (3637/4777) of the questionnaires distributed.
At the age of 12, 22% of children had allergic rhinitis and 57% were boys. Mean age at onset was 7.8 years, and 55% reported their first symptoms after 8 years. The most common trigger factors were pollen (85%), furry animals (34%), and house dust mites (17%). A multivariate analysis showed that the adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the independent risk factors for allergic rhinitis at 12 were as follows: parental allergic rhinitis (2.32, 1.94-2.77), doctor-diagnosed food allergy in the first year (1.75, 1.21-2.52), eczema in the first year (1.61, 1.31-1.97), and male gender (1.25, 1.06-1.47). Eating fish once a month or more at age of 12 months reduced the risk of allergic rhinitis at 12 years of age (0.70, 0.50-0.98) as did living on a farm with farm animals at 4 years (0.51, 0.32-0.84). Continuous farm living from age 4 to 12 seemed to drive the association.
Allergic rhinitis affected > 20% of 12-year-olds, but was lower in children who ate fish at 12 months or grew up on a farm with farm animals.