Thirty-one adult patients with asthma caused by house-dust mites (HDM) were included in this placebo-controlled, double-blind study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of specific immunotherapy (SIT) with biologically standardized extracts of HDM. The specific diagnosis was confirmed by skin prick tests, specific IgE, and bronchial provocation tests with HDM allergens. The patients were randomized to receive active treatment with extracts of either Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Dpt) or D. farinae (Dfa) (Alutard SQ, ALK, Denmark) or placebo injections. Twenty-three patients completed the study. After 1 year of treatment, we found a clinically important and significant reduction in both asthma medicine consumption (inhaled steroids 38% and beta 2-agonists 46%) and symptom score (57%) in the actively treated group, but not the placebo group. These findings were confirmed by a significant decrease in skin and bronchial sensitivity to HDM in the active group. Additionally, there was a significant difference in the patients' scores for effect in favor of the actively treated group. Total IgE and specific IgE to HDM showed no significant changes before and after treatment for either group. Spirometric lung-function measurements showed a significant increase in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) from 85% before to 89% of predicted values after treatment for the actively treated group. Peak-flow measurements at home showed no significant changes during the study. It is concluded that allergen SIT is an effective treatment in adult patients suffering from asthma due to HDM.
BACKGROUND: The mean wheal diameter >/= 3 mm is the usual criterion for positive skin prick test (SPT) reaction to dust mites. The study assessed the accuracy of this SPT criterion with respect to specific IgE values of above 0.35 kUA/l (+ sIgE). METHODS: Specific IgE (ImmunoCAP, Pharmacia AB Diagnostics, Uppsala, Sweden) and standard SPT to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (DP) and farinae (DF), Lepidoglyphus destructor (LD) and Tyrophagus putrescentiae (TP) (ALK, Hørsholm, Denmark) were performed in a random sample of 457 subjects, of whom 273 men (mean age 35.3 +/- 11.0 years) and 184 women (mean age 37.9 +/- 9.5 years). Statistical analysis was performed using the chi-square test, regression analysis and discriminant analysis. RESULTS: When the mean wheal diameter of >/= 3 mm was considered positive (+ SPT), the correlation between + SPT and + sIgE was 0.47 for DP (P
The prognosis of allergic rhinitis was studied in 154 children aged 3-17 years at diagnosis by means of a detailed questionnaire administered 8-11 years later. The symptoms had completely disappeared in only 15 (10%) patients. The conjunctival symptoms, however, had disappeared or were controlled successfully by topical drug therapy in almost all, and 77 (50%) were managing without medication for allergic rhinitis. Twenty-five (23%) of the 110 children with seasonal allergic rhinitis had a perennial disease at follow-up, in contrast to seven (16%) of 44 with perennial allergic rhinitis originally who had only seasonal symptoms at follow-up. Asthma or wheezing had developed in 29 cases (19%) and was more common (p less than 0.01) among those with perennial allergic rhinitis (15 of 44) than among those with seasonal allergic rhinitis (14 of 110). No significant association was found between age at onset of symptoms, family history of atopic disease or type of treatment for allergic rhinitis and allergic rhinitis still present at follow-up or development of asthma during the observation period.
The detection of anergy or relative anergy by delayed hypersensitivity skin tests was predictive of infection and related mortality in 354 surgical patients. Cancer or advanced age alone did not account for the increased morbidity and mortality seen in this study. Altered delayed hypersensitivity response is a reflection of abnormalities in cell-mediated immunity and possibly humoral or phagocytic defects, or both. Skin testing is of value to the clinical surgeon both in identifying the population at risk and in monitoring the immune response to therapy in the seriously ill patient. Failure to improve skin-test response may indicate underlying infection or malnutrition, which, if untreated, results in a high mortality.
Three methods were employed to assess whether human volunteers (Caucasian, Asian or Cree Indian) possessed the typical or atypical mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) isozyme. These methods were: (1) questioning individuals about facial flushing responses following alcohol consumption; (2) application of the ethanol skin patch test, and (3) direct analysis using isoelectric focusing and activity staining of ALDH activity in hair root samples. The results from the three methods were in good agreement and revealed that only the typical ALDH2 isozyme was expressed in Saskatchewan Cree Indians. In agreement with previous reports, the typical ALDH2 was expressed in the Caucasian group of subjects, while both the typical and atypical forms were expressed in the Asian subjects.
History of acute symptoms (cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, fever, stuffy nose, and skin itching/rash) following exposure to grain dust was obtained from 661 male and 535 female current and former farmers. These symptoms were relatively common: 60% of male and 25% of female farmers reported at least one such symptom on exposure to grain dust. Association of cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and stuffy nose with skin reactivity and capacity to form IgE is consistent with an allergic nature of these symptoms. Barley and oats dust were perceived as dust most often producing symptoms. On the other hand, grain fever showed a different pattern, i.e., it was not associated with either skin reactivity or total IgE. Smoking might modify the susceptibility to react to grain dust with symptoms. Only those who reported wheezing on exposure to grain dust may have an increased risk to develop chronic airflow obstruction.
The lymphoblastic response (LTT) to non-specific mitogens (PHA, PWM and ConA) of peripheral lymphocytes was investigated at days 0, 7, 14, 21 and 28 after adjuvant injection in four strains of inbred rats: Wistar (WAG), Long Evans (LE), Lewis (LEW) and Brown Norway (BN). LTT was assessed by using 18 hours H3 TdR incorporation in 5 days cultures of whole blood (micromethod). The statistical treatment of data, using principal components multifactorial analysis and analysis of variance showed a striking difference between strains. In control animals the responses to PHA and PWM were correlated and were higher in LE and WAG than in LEW and BN (BN=LEW less than LE=WAG). The response to ConA was independent of that to the other mitogens. It was generally low, but significantly higher in LEW and BN than in WAG and LE. In adjuvant-injected animals the responses to PHA and PWM were still correlated, but modified compared to control: in LE and LEW, but not in WAG and BN, a marked decrease of the response was found, reaching a minimum value within days 7 and 14. In the same time the response to ConA increased in the four strains, later in LE than in the others. However the intensity of the ConA response varied from one strain to another: it was constantly low in LE and WAG compared to LEW and BN. So the most striking modification of LTT were observed in LE and LEW, which both developed the most severe arthritis. However these different behaviours after adjuvant injection were not explained by the initial level of LTT to the different mitogens. These data suggest that the development of intense arthritis is associated with the proliferation and the release into the blood stream of a lymphocyte subpopulation, which exhibits a low response to PHA and PWM and a high response to ConA. These LTT modifications are not paralleled by quantitative variations of B-cells assessed by surface Ig immunofluorescent staining and EAC rosetting.
Epidemiologic studies continue to find an increased prevalence of rhinitis, asthma, and atopy in more westernized countries. Both allergic and nonallergic rhinitis are risk factors for development of asthma, particularly in adulthood. In patients who have both asthma and rhinitis, treatment of the latter decreases the likelihood of emergency department visits or hospitalization for asthma. The protective effect of intranasal cortico-steroids is much greater than that of antihistamines. This mirrors the effect on rhinitis symptoms, in which nasal corticosteroids are much more effective than antihistamines, leukotriene receptor antagonists, or the combination of both. In patients with severe asthma, sinus mucosal thickening on computed tomography (CT) correlates with the severity of lower airway disease indicated by sputum eosinophilia, exhaled nitrous oxide (NO), functional residual capacity, and diffusing capacity. Preseasonal specific immunotherapy (SIT) is less effective, but additive to treatment with omalizumab. It is also somewhat less effective in reducing nasal symptoms than nasal corticosteroids; however, it is superior to them for reducing lower airway inflammation. SIT in children with only allergic rhinitis reduces both the incidence of asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. High-dose sublingual immunotherapy appears to be safe and effective, but less effective than injection immunotherapy. It is not clear that there are cost savings with sublingual immunotherapy, as home administration savings may be offset by the much larger amount of allergen extracts required. New approaches to allergen immunotherapy, designed to increase efficacy and safety, include conjugation of allergens to immunostimulatory sequences and encapsulation in liposomes. Cross-reactivity between inhalants and foods demonstrated by skin prick tests is more predictive of clinically important sensitivity than is that demonstrated by RAST testing. The latter, because of cross-reacting profilins, is often clinically irrelevant.
Exposure to fragrance chemicals causes various eye and airway symptoms. Individuals with perfume contact allergy report these symptoms more frequently than individuals with nickel allergy or no contact allergies. However, the associations between contact allergy and respiratory symptoms elicited by airborne chemicals other than perfumes are unclear. The study aimed to investigate the association between eye and airway symptoms elicited by airborne chemicals (other than perfumes) and contact allergy in a population-based sample. A questionnaire on respiratory symptoms was posted, in 2002, to 1189 individuals who participated in 1997/1998 in a Danish population-based study of allergic diseases. Questions about eye and airway symptoms elicited by different airborne chemicals and airborne proteins were included in the questionnaire. Data from the questionnaire were compared with data on patch testing and prick testing. Having at least 1 positive patch test (adjusted odds ratio 1.7, 95% CI 1.2-2.5) was associated with the symptoms, and the odds ratio increased with the number of positive patch tests (P-value for test for trend