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Concept: Allergen

179

BACKGROUND: Studies on the association of birth by caesarean section (C/S) and allergies have produced conflicting findings. Furthermore, evidence on whether this association may differ in those at risk of atopy is limited. This study aims to investigate the association of mode of delivery with asthma and atopic sensitization and the extent to which any effect is modified by family history of allergies. METHODS: Asthma outcomes were assessed cross-sectionally in 2216 children at age 8 on the basis of parents' responses to the ISAAC questionnaire whilst skin prick tests to eleven aeroallergens were also performed in a subgroup of 746 children. Adjusted odds ratios of asthma and atopy by mode of delivery were estimated in multivariable logistic models while evidence of effect modification was examined by introducing interaction terms in the models. RESULTS: After adjusting for potential confounders, children born by C/S appeared significantly more likely than those born vaginally to report ever wheezing (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.07-1.71), asthma diagnosis (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.09-1.83) and be atopic (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.08-2.60). There was modest evidence that family history of allergies may modify the effect of C/S delivery on atopy (p for effect modification=0.06) but this was not the case for the asthma outcomes. Specifically, while more than a two-fold increase in the odds of being a topic was observed in children with a family history of allergies if born by C/S (OR 2.62, 95% CI 1.38-5.00), no association was observed in children without a family history of allergies (OR 1.16, 95% CI 0.64-2.11). CONCLUSIONS: Birth by C/S is associated with asthma and atopic sensitization in childhood. The association of C/S and atopy appears more pronounced in children with family history of allergies.

Concepts: Allergen, Caesarean delivery on maternal request, Odds ratio, Hypersensitivity, Allergy, Atopy, Childbirth, Asthma

174

BACKGROUND: Severe eczema in young children is associated with an increased risk of developing asthma and rhino-conjunctivitis. In the general population, however, most cases of eczema are mild to moderate. In an unselected cohort, we studied the risk of current asthma and the co-existence of allergy-related diseases at 6 years of age among children with and without eczema at 2 years of age. METHODS: Questionnaires assessing various environmental exposures and health variables were administered at 2 years of age. An identical health questionnaire was completed at 6 years of age. The clinical investigation of a random subsample ascertained eczema diagnoses, and missing data were handled by multiple imputation analyses. RESULTS: The estimate for the association between eczema at 2 years and current asthma at 6 years was OR=1.80 (95 % CI 1.10-2.96). Four of ten children with eczema at 6 years had the onset of eczema after the age of 2 years, but the co-existence of different allergy-related diseases at 6 years was higher among those with the onset of eczema before 2 years of age. CONCLUSIONS: Although most cases of eczema in the general population were mild to moderate, early eczema was associated with an increased risk of developing childhood asthma. These findings support the hypothesis of an atopic march in the general population.Trial registrationThe Prevention of Allergy among Children in Trondheim study has been identified as ISRCTN28090297 in the international Current Controlled Trials database.

Concepts: Data analysis, Epidemiology, Allergen, Expectation-maximization algorithm, Clinical trial, Asthma, Allergy, Eczema

139

Few studies addressed trans-regional differences in allergen sensitization between areas within a similar latitudinal range but with distinct geomorphological features. We investigated specific IgE (sIgE) positivity to common allergens in populations from two southern China provinces. Using a uniformed protocol, serum samples were collected from 2778 subjects with suspected atopy in coastal Guangdong and inland Yunnan. The overall prevalence of sIgE positivity were 57.8% (95% CI: 56.0%, 59.6%) from Guangdong vs 60.9% (95% CI: 59.1%, 62.7%) from Yunnan. House dust mite (d1) was the most common allergen in both regions. Among d1-sensitized subjects, only 35.7% (208/583) in Guangdong and 22.9% (147/642) in Yunnan tested positive for d1 alone. Among those poly-sensitized d1-positive subjects, cockroach was the most common co-sensitizing aeroallergen. 41.9% of the d1-sensitized Guangdong subjects showed high-class sIgE reactivity (≥class 4), in contrast to a very low percentage of such reactivity in Yunnan. However, 36.3% of d1-sensitized subjects in Yunnan were concomitantly positive for tree pollen mix. Surprisingly, Yunnan subjects showed high prevalence of sIgE positivity for crabs and shrimps, either by overall or by age-group analysis, compared with their Guangdong counterparts (both P < 0.05). These findings may add to data about local allergies in China and worldwide.

Concepts: Arachnid, Atopy, Mite, People's Republic of China, House dust mite, Allergen, Allergy, Asthma

71

The hygiene hypothesis suggests that early-life exposure to microbial organisms reduces the risk of developing allergies. Thumb-sucking and nail-biting are common childhood habits that may increase microbial exposures. We tested the hypothesis that children who suck their thumbs or bite their nails have a lower risk of developing atopy, asthma, and hay fever in a population-based birth cohort followed to adulthood.

Concepts: Habits, Hygiene hypothesis, Microorganism, Allergen, Hypersensitivity, Atopy, Allergy, Asthma

34

Allergen-specific type 2 helper T (TH2) cells play a central role in initiating and orchestrating the allergic and asthmatic inflammatory response pathways. One major factor limiting the use of such atopic disease-causing T cells as both therapeutic targets and clinically useful biomarkers is the lack of an accepted methodology to identify and differentiate these cells from overall nonpathogenic TH2 cell types. We have described a subset of human memory TH2 cells confined to atopic individuals that includes all allergen-specific TH2 cells. These cells are terminally differentiated CD4(+) T cells (CD27(-) and CD45RB(-)) characterized by coexpression of CRTH2, CD49d, and CD161 and exhibit numerous functional attributes distinct from conventional TH2 cells. Hence, we have denoted these cells with this stable allergic disease-related phenotype as the TH2A cell subset. Transcriptome analysis further revealed a distinct pathway in the initiation of pathogenic responses to allergen, and elimination of these cells is indicative of clinical responses induced by immunotherapy. Together, these findings identify a human TH2 cell signature in allergic diseases that could be used for response-monitoring and designing appropriate immunomodulatory strategies.

Concepts: Immunology, Gene, White blood cell, Allergen, T helper cell, Immune system, Asthma, Allergy

32

Wheezing illnesses cause major morbidity in infants and are frequent precursors to asthma.

Concepts: Immune system, Wheeze, Atopy, Allergen, Asthma

31

Differences in asthma severity may be related to inflammation in the airways. The lower airway microbiota has been associated with clinical features such as airway obstruction, symptom control, and response to corticosteroids.

Concepts: Corticosteroid, Allergen, Inflammation, Atopy, Allergy, Obstructive lung disease, Immune system, Asthma

28

Single BCG vaccination has been considered as a protective factor against asthma. However the effect of a second dose of BCG on the prevalence rate of asthma and asthma-allergic rhinitis-eczema comorbidity has not been studied exclusively among adolescents. In this ISAAC protocol-based cross sectional study we assessed the association between one single versus two doses of BCG among 2213 individuals aged 13-14 years old. We found no association between BCG revaccination and asthma, associated (OR = 0.68, 95% CI, 0.37-1.25) or not to allergic rhinitis and/or atopic eczema (OR = 1.07, 95% CI, 0.84-1.36).

Concepts: Rhinitis, Medical statistics, Allergen, Immune system, Eczema, Atopy, Asthma, Allergy

28

A symposium entitled “Advances in Food Allergen Detection” was held at the 243rd American Chemical Society Meeting in March 2012 in San Diego, CA and was sponsored by the ACS Division of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The purpose of the symposium was to convene the leaders in the food allergen analysis field for presentations on, and discussions of, the state of the art, new developments, and critical challenges in the detection and quantitation of allergenic proteins in foods. Twenty-five presentations were delivered by speakers representing academic, government and industrial institutions in ten countries. The presentations covered all aspects of food allergens, including a historical progress review, regulatory policies, clinical practices, food processing effects, food production equipment cross-contamination and cleaning, and the performance of several food allergen analytical strategies and technologies. This article is intended to provide a brief summary of the presentations as well as a record of the proceedings of the symposium, which was deemed a great success in advancing food allergen analysis.

Concepts: Allergen immunotherapy, Allergen, Antigen, American Chemical Society, Chemistry, Food, Food allergy

27

History and severity of atopic dermatitis (AD) are risk factors for peanut allergy. Recent evidence suggests that children can become sensitized to food allergens through an impaired skin barrier. Household peanut consumption, which correlates strongly with peanut protein levels in household dust, is a risk factor for peanut allergy.

Concepts: Peanut, Allergen, Allergy, Avicenna, The Canon of Medicine, Asthma, Food allergy, Atopy