The absence of IgE sensitization to allergen components in the presence of sensitization to the corresponding extract has been reported, but its clinical importance has not been studied.
To evaluate the clinical significance of IgE sensitization to three aeroallergen extracts and the corresponding components in relation to the development of respiratory disease.
A total of 467 adults participated in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) II and 302 in ECRHS III, 12 years later. IgE sensitization to allergen extract and components, exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) and bronchial responsiveness to methacholine were measured in ECRHS II. Rhinitis and asthma symptoms were questionnaire-assessed in both ECRHS II and III.
A good overall correlation was found between IgE sensitization to extract and components for cat (r = 0.83), timothy (r = 0.96) and birch (r = 0.95). However, a substantial proportion of subjects tested IgE positive for cat and timothy allergen extracts but negative for the corresponding components (48% and 21%, respectively). Subjects sensitized to both cat extract and components had higher FeNO (P = 0.008) and more bronchial responsiveness (P = 0.002) than subjects sensitized only to the extract. Further, subjects sensitized to cat components were more likely to develop asthma (P = 0.005) and rhinitis (P = 0.007) than subjects sensitized only to cat extract.
Measurement of IgE sensitization to cat allergen components would seem to have a higher clinical value than extract-based measurement, as it related better to airway inflammation and responsiveness and had a higher prognostic value for the development of asthma and rhinitis over a 12-year period.
In this 5-year follow-up study we compared the prevalence of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, eczema, and sensitization, in relation to several background factors, in two Swedish regions (Göteborg and Kiruna). In Göteborg, a city on the southwest coast, the climate is mild and humid. Kiruna is a town north of the Arctic Circle. Questionnaire replies and results of interviews were collected from all 412 7-8-year-old children of a population-based sample (203 in Göteborg and 209 in Kiruna); in addition, 192 children from Göteborg and 205 from Kiruna were skin-prick tested for sensitization to common aero-allergens. After 5 years, at 12-13 years of age, almost all of the initial study cohort were re-investigated. At follow-up the prevalence of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis was 17%, eczema 23%, and sensitization 32%. Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema were as common in Göteborg as in Kiruna, whereas sensitization was far more common in Kiruna. Children born during the pollen season had allergic rhinoconjunctivitis less often -- and were sensitized to pollen and animal protein less often -- than those born during the rest of the year. Sensitization to birch pollen, cat protein, and horse protein was less common in children living in Göteborg, the region with the highest frequency of cat ownership and horseback riding, and with the longest birch-pollen season. The girls were more commonly horseback riders but the boys were more often sensitized to horses. The results reinforce our previous findings: indoor climate may affect the development of sensitization and allergic diseases, to some extent independently; and if exposure to antigen is unavoidable, high doses might be better than low doses.
Epidemiologic data describing the association between allergic sensitization and asthma and allergic rhinitis in adults are scarce.
To determine the prevalence and impact of specific sensitization to airborne allergens on asthma and allergic rhinitis among adults in relation to age.
A random population sample (age 21-86 years) was examined with structured interview and analysis of specific IgE to 9 common airborne allergens. Of those invited, 692 (68%) subjects participated in blood sampling. IgE level of 0.35 U/mL or more to the specific allergen was defined as a positive test result.
Allergic sensitization decreased with increasing age, both in the population sample and among subjects with asthma and allergic rhinitis. In a multivariate model, sensitization to animal was significantly positively associated with asthma (odds ratio [OR], 4.80; 95% CI, 2.68-8.60), whereas sensitization to both animal (OR, 3.90; 95% CI, 2.31-6.58) and pollen (OR, 4.25; 95% CI, 2.55-7.06) was significantly associated with allergic rhinitis. The association between allergic sensitization and rhinitis was consistently strongest among the youngest age group, whereas this pattern was not found for asthma. The prevalence of allergic sensitization among patients with asthma decreased by increasing age of asthma onset, 86% with asthma onset at age 6 y or less, 56% at age 7 to 19 years, and 26% with asthma onset at age 20 years or more.
Sensitization to animal was associated with asthma across all age groups; allergic rhinitis was associated with sensitization to both pollen and animal and consistently stronger among younger than among older adults. Early onset of asthma was associated with allergic sensitization among adults with asthma.
Knowledge about the prevalence of allergies to foods in childhood and adolescence is incomplete. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of allergies to milk, egg, cod, and wheat using reported data, clinical examinations, and double-blind placebo-controlled food challenges, and to describe the phenotypes of reported food hypersensitivity in a cohort of Swedish schoolchildren.
In a population-based cohort of 12-year-old children, the parents of 2612 (96% of invited) completed a questionnaire. Specific IgE antibodies to foods were analyzed in a random sample (n=695). Children reporting complete avoidance of milk, egg, cod, or wheat due to perceived hypersensitivity and without physician-diagnosed celiac disease were invited to undergo clinical examination that included specific IgE testing, a celiac screening test, and categorization into phenotypes of food hypersensitivity according to preset criteria. Children with possible food allergy were further evaluated with double-blind challenges.
In this cohort, the prevalence of reported food allergy to milk, egg, cod, or wheat was 4.8%. Food allergy was diagnosed in 1.4% of the children after clinical evaluation and in 0.6% following double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge. After clinical examination, children who completely avoided one or more essential foods due to perceived food hypersensitivity were categorized with the following phenotypes: allergy (29%), outgrown allergy (19%), lactose intolerance (40%), and unclear (12%).
There was a high discrepancy in the prevalence of allergy to milk, egg, cod and wheat as assessed by reported data, clinical evaluation, and double-blind food challenges. Food hypersensitivity phenotyping according to preset criteria was helpful for identifying children with food allergy.
This study compares the prevalence of asthma and sensitization in children from two Swedish regions with different climates: Göteborg on the southwest coast and Kiruna in the northern inland, north of the Arctic Circle. The 412 children of a population-based sample, 203 in Göteborg and 209 in Kiruna, were investigated at age 7-8 and 12-13 years. Questionnaire reports and interviews were obtained from all children at 7-8 years of age, and 192 children were skin-prick tested for common aeroallergens in Göteborg and 205 in Kiruna. At the follow-up, 5 years later, almost all the children were re-investigated. The prevalence of asthma, wheeze, and sensitization had increased with increasing age during the follow-up period. The questionnaire reports revealed that the prevalence of asthma was 8.5% at 12-13 years of age. All children who in the questionnaire reported current asthma, were using asthma medication. The interviews indicated that the prevalence of a clinically significant asthma might be even higher, reaching approximately 12%. Asthma and wheeze were as common in Göteborg as in Kiruna despite large differences in prevalence of sensitization. Sensitization, and especially sensitization to animals, was far more common in Kiruna than in Göteborg. This study shows that asthma and wheeze are increasingly prevalent even in school age children and that sensitization does not necessarily reflect the prevalence of asthma in a population.
National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Pediatrics, Sachs' Children's Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Studies have presented conflicting associations between cat allergen exposure and sensitisation and atopic disease. We therefore investigated the association between the observed domestic cat allergen level and cat sensitisation in young children in four study populations from three European countries. We recruited children from a nested case-control study, which is composed of four ongoing birth cohorts conducted in three European countries. Children at 2-4 years of age in the four cohorts who were sensitised to cat allergens (n=106) were compared with 554 non-sensitised children (controls). House dust samples were collected when the children were 5 to 7 years old, and cat allergen levels were measured in ng/g dust and ng/m(2) surface area. In the German study population we found a positive association between domestic cat allergen in house dust and cat sensitisation (OR (CI)=3.01 (1.16, 7.99)) while in the Swedish study population, we found a negative association (OR (CI)=0.41 (0.16, 0.98)). No association was found in the Dutch study population (OR (CI)=0.83 (0.22, 2.93)). Looking into the family history of cat keeping, we found the lowest prevalence of cat sensitisation in children who were cat owners at the age of blood sampling (11%) and the highest prevalence was found in those who have had a cat but not anymore, at the age of blood sampling (41%). The mixed results may be explained by differences in age and avoidance patterns.
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.
An inverse relationship has been proposed between exposure to high quantities of cat allergen at home and both asthma and cat allergy. First- and second-grade children from Luleå, Kiruna, and Piteå, Sweden participated in an asthma questionnaire study (n = 3,431) and incidence was evaluated over the next 3 years. Skin testing was performed on the children in Luleå and Kiruna (n = 2,149). The strongest risk factor for incident cases of asthma was Type 1 allergy (relative risk [RR], 4.9 [2.9-8.4]), followed by a family history of asthma (RR, 2.83 [1.8-4.5]). Living with a cat was inversely related both to having a positive skin test to cat (RR, 0.62 [0.47-0.83]) and incidence of physician-diagnosed asthma (RR, 0.49 [0.28-0.83]). This effect on incident asthma was most pronounced among the children with a family history of asthma (RR, 0.25 [0.08-0.80]). The evidence also suggests that many of the children exposed to cats at home can develop an immune response that does not include immunoglobulin E. Weaker protective trends were seen with dog ownership. The traditional thinking that not owning cats can provide protection against developing allergy and asthma among those with a family history of allergy needs to be re-evaluated. In a community where cat sensitization was strongly associated with asthma, owning a cat was protective against both prevalent and incident asthma.