Effect of current exposure to Der p 1 on asthma symptoms, airway inflammation, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in mite-allergic asthmatics


María José Alvarez Puebla, Padre Arintero n°11, 1°C, 24001 León, Spain


The existence of a dose-response relationship between indoor allergen exposure and sensitization has been widely described, but the effect of allergen exposure on asthma activity (symptoms, bronchial hyperresponsiveness [BHR], and inflammation) is not clear. Our aim was to determine the existence of an association among current exposure to mite allergens and symptoms, BHR, and airway inflammation assessed in blood and sputum from asthmatic patients sensitized to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus. We selected 31 mild and recently diagnosed (12–24 months) asthma patients sensitized to D. pteronyssinus. Allergenic exposure (Der p 1, Der 2) was assessed by a commercial assay based on monoclonal antibodies (mAb), carried out on the dust samples collected from patients' beds in a standardized way. Patients completed an asthma symptom questionnaire and underwent skin tests, methacholine bronchial challenge, and sputum induction. Sputum cell profile was analyzed and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), tryptase, albumin, and interleukin(IL)-5 levels were quantified in sputum supernatant. Total eosinophil numbers and ECP levels were measured in blood samples. Most patients were exposed to Der p 1 levels under 2 μg/g of dust. Der p 1 exposure was higher among the subjects with positive sputum tryptase detection (P=0.020). Der p 1 levels showed a trend toward correlation with asthma symptoms (P=0.066, r=0.36) and correlated with sputum tryptase levels (P=0.032, r=0.42). No relationship between BHR, eosinophilic inflammation, and allergenic exposure was found. Our results suggest that asthma symptoms and lung mast-cell activation are at least partially dependent on current allergen exposure. The lack of correlation between mite exposure, eosinophilic inflammation, and BHR supports the role of other factors that enhance the immunologic response initiated by allergen, increasing the activity of asthma.