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Concept: Asthma


To the Editor: Changing patterns of allergic sensitization to pollens have been noted around the world among schoolchildren. We report one associated with unusual winter allergic symptoms in Switzerland. Our group has gathered information on allergic symptoms and serologic findings among 15-year-olds attending school in Grabs, a village in eastern Switzerland,(1) from 1983 through 2007.(2) We measured IgE antibodies to 103 molecular allergens (using ImmunoCAP ISAC) in serum samples obtained from 54 students in 1986 and from 46 students in 2006.(3) In 2010, we retested 12 of the former students (then 39 years old) who in 1986 had had positive . . .

Concepts: Immunology, October 12, Ragweed, Antibody, Immunoglobulin E, Immune system, Asthma, Allergy


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


Positive associations between having a pet dog and adult health outcomes have been documented; however, little evidence exists regarding the benefits of pet dogs for young children. This study investigates the hypothesis that pet dogs are positively associated with healthy weight and mental health among children.

Concepts: Asthma, Pet, Medical terms, Epidemiology, Dog, Public health, Medicine


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


Wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA) is a specific form of wheat allergy typically induced by exercise after ingestion of wheat products. Wheat ω-5 gliadin is a major allergen associated with conventional WDEIA, and detection of serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) specific to recombinant ω-5 gliadin is a reliable method for its diagnosis. Recently, an increased incidence of a new subtype of WDEIA, which is likely to be sensitized via a percutaneous and/or rhinoconjunctival route to hydrolyzed wheat protein (HWP), has been observed. All of the patients with this new subtype had used the same brand of soap, which contained HWP. Approximately half of these patients developed contact allergy several months later and subsequently developed WDEIA. In each of these patients, contact allergy with soap exposure preceded food ingestion-induced reactions. Other patients directly developed generalized symptoms upon ingestion of wheat products. The predominant observed symptom of the new WDEIA subtype was angioedema of the eyelids; a number of patients developed anaphylaxis. This new subtype of WDEIA has little serum ω-5 gliadin-specific serum IgE.

Concepts: Immunoglobulin E, Hypersensitivity, Allergology, Mast cell, Asthma, Wheat, Immune system, Allergy


Pre-clinical data demonstrate a pivotal role for interleukin (IL)-13 in the development and maintenance of asthma. This study assessed the effects of tralokinumab, an investigational human IL-13-neutralising immunoglobulin G4 monoclonal antibody, in adults with moderate-to-severe uncontrolled asthma despite controller therapies. 194 subjects were randomised to receive tralokinumab (150, 300 or 600 mg) or placebo subcutaneously every 2 weeks. Primary end-point was change from baseline in mean Asthma Control Questionnaire score (ACQ-6; ACQ mean of six individual item scores) at week 13 comparing placebo and combined tralokinumab dose groups. Secondary end-points included pre-bronchodilator lung function, rescue β(2)-agonist use and safety. Numerical end-points are reported as mean±sd. At week 13, change from baseline in ACQ-6 was -0.76±1.04 for tralokinumab versus -0.61±0.90 for placebo (p=0.375). Increases from baseline in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) were 0.21±0.38 L versus 0.06±0.48 L (p=0.072), with a dose-response observed across the tralokinumab doses tested. β(2)-agonist use (puffs per day) was decreased for tralokinumab -0.68±1.45 versus placebo -0.10±1.49 (p=0.020). The increase in FEV(1) following tralokinumab treatment remained evident 12 weeks after the final dose. Safety profile was acceptable with no serious adverse events related to tralokinumab. No improvement in ACQ-6 was observed, although tralokinumab treatment was associated with improved lung function.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Lung, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Peak flow meter, Respiratory physiology, Spirometry, Asthma, Immune system


Adoption and maintenance of healthy behaviours is pivotal to chronic disease self-management as this influences disease progression and impact. This qualitative study investigated health behaviour changes adopted by participants with moderate or severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) recruited to a randomised controlled study of telephone-delivered health-mentoring.

Concepts: Pneumonia, Osteoporosis, Psychology, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Asthma, Medicine


Recent studies have shown that zinc ion (Zn) can behave as an intracellular signaling molecule. We previously demonstrated that mast cells stimulated through the high-affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) rapidly release intracellular Zn from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and we named this phenomenon the “Zn wave”. However, the molecules responsible for releasing Zn and the roles of the Zn wave were elusive. Here we identified the pore-forming α(1) subunit of the Cav1.3 (α(1D)) L-type calcium channel (LTCC) as the gatekeeper for the Zn wave. LTCC antagonists inhibited the Zn wave, and an agonist was sufficient to induce it. Notably, α(1D) was mainly localized to the ER rather than the plasma membrane in mast cells, and the Zn wave was impaired by α(1D) knockdown. We further found that the LTCC-mediated Zn wave positively controlled cytokine gene induction by enhancing the DNA-binding activity of NF-κB. Consistent with this finding, LTCC antagonists inhibited the cytokine-mediated delayed-type allergic reaction in mice without affecting the immediate-type allergic reaction. These findings indicated that the LTCC α(1D) subunit located on the ER membrane has a novel function as a gatekeeper for the Zn wave, which is involved in regulating NF-κB signaling and the delayed-type allergic reaction.

Concepts: Signal transduction, Asthma, Immunoglobulin E, Cell membrane, Mast cell, Allergy, Cell biology, Immune system


Crosslinking of immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE) bound at the surface of mast cells and subsequent mediator release is considered the most important trigger for allergic reactions. Therefore, the genetic control of IgE levels is studied in the context of allergic diseases, such as asthma, atopic rhinitis, or atopic dermatitis (AD). We performed genome-wide association studies in 161 Labrador Retrievers with regard to total and allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels. We identified a genome-wide significant association on CFA 5 with the antigen-specific IgE responsiveness to Acarus siro. We detected a second genome-wide significant association with respect to the antigen-specific IgE responsiveness to Tyrophagus putrescentiae at a different locus on chromosome 5. A. siro and T. putrescentiae both belong to the family Acaridae and represent so-called storage or forage mites. These forage mites are discussed as major allergen sources in canine AD. No obvious candidate gene for the regulation of IgE levels is located under the two association signals. Therefore our studies offer a chance of identifying a novel mechanism controlling the host’s IgE response.

Concepts: White blood cell, Hypersensitivity, Atopy, Mast cell, Immunoglobulin E, Immune system, Asthma, Allergy


Adiponectin is an adipose derived hormone that declines in obesity. We have previously shown that exogenous administration of adiponectin reduces allergic airways responses in mice. T-cadherin (T-cad; Cdh13) is a binding protein for the high molecular weight isoforms of adiponectin. To determine whether the beneficial effects of adiponectin on allergic airways responses require T-cad, we sensitized wildtype (WT), T-cadherin deficient (T-cad(-/-)) and adiponectin and T-cad bideficient mice to ovalbumin (OVA) and challenged the mice with aerosolized OVA or PBS. Compared to WT, T-cad(-/-) mice were protected against OVA-induced airway hyperresponsiveness, increases in BAL inflammatory cells, and induction of IL-13, IL-17, and eotaxin expression. Histological analysis of the lungs of OVA-challenged T-cad(-/-) versus WT mice indicated reduced inflammation around the airways, and reduced mucous cell hyperplasia. Combined adiponectin and T-cad deficiency reversed the effects of T-cad deficiency alone, indicating that the observed effects of T-cad deficiency require adiponectin. Compared to WT, serum adiponectin was markedly increased in T-cad(-/-) mice, likely because adiponectin that is normally sequestered by endothelial T-cad remains free in the circulation. In conclusion, T-cad does not mediate the protective effects of adiponectin. Instead, mice lacking T-cad have reduced allergic airways disease, likely because elevated serum adiponectin levels act on other adiponectin signaling pathways.

Concepts: Asthma, Proteins, Cadherin, Protein, Gene, T-cadherin, Obesity, Inflammation