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Immunotherapy Is Allergen-Specific: A Double-Blind Trial of Mite or Timothy Extract in Mite and Grass Dual-Allergic PatientsDreborg S.a · Lee T.H.b · Kay A.B.c · Durham S.R.d
aDepartment of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; bMRC and Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, King’s College London, and cLeukocyte Biology and dAllergy and Clinical Immunology, MRC and Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, Imperial College London, London, UK
Background: One hundred years ago, Noon [Lancet 1911;1:1572–1573], using conjunctival provocation testing (CPT), was the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) in grass-allergic subjects with hay fever. In this centenary year, we present data that, by use of CPT and allergen-specific IgG, replicate this observation and additionally confirm the allergen specificity of SCIT by using a double-blind design employing either grass or mite SCIT in dual grass- and mite-allergic individuals. Methods: Twenty adults (11 females) with perennial rhinoconjunctivitis and exacerbation of symptoms during the grass pollen season and in the autumn had immediate skin and conjunctival sensitivity and raised specific IgE to both Dermatophagoides farinae and Phleum pratense. Participants were randomly assigned to either timothy or D. farinae immunotherapy for 3 years. CPT and specific IgG tests to both allergens were performed annually. After 3 years, subjects gave their blinded overall evaluation. Results: Six mild-to-moderate general reactions occurred in 2 timothy- and 4 mite-treated patients. Four of these patients and 2 other patients withdrew from the study. Seven patients in each group completed the study. After 3 years of immunotherapy, the timothy CPT threshold concentration had increased 16- fold in timothy-treated patients (p < 0.05; between-group change, p < 0.05). The increase in the mite CPT threshold in mite- compared to grass-treated patients was 31-fold (p < 0.05). The overall assessment of conjunctival sensitivity was highly significant in favour of treatment (p < 0.015), as was that of allergen-specific IgG (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Allergen immunotherapy is allergen species-specific, as judged by decreased conjunctival sensitivity and changes in allergen-specific IgG concentrations.
© 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel