Total and specific IgE (house dust mite and intestinal helminths) in asthmatics and controls from Gondar, Ethiopia


Cullinan Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Imperial College (NHLI), 1b Manresa Road, London SW3 6LR, U.K.



The role, if any, of parasitosis in the development of asthma remains incompletely understood; both ‘protective’ and ‘predictive’ associations have been reported. We report a study which examined immunoglobulin (Ig) E responses to two common helminths in asthmatics living in Ethiopia.


To compare the frequencies of specific IgE antibodies to Ascaris and Necator species and to Der p 1 among 84 adult asthmatics and a referent group of nonasthmatics.


A case-control analysis.


Total IgE levels were not different between the two groups. The presence of specific IgE to Der p 1 was strongly associated with asthma (P = 0.001). Raised levels of Ascaris-(P = 0.010) and Necator- (P = 0.001) specific IgE antibodies were more common among referents; there were no associations between specific IgE production to Der p 1 and either of the two parasites.


These findings confirm the association between Der p 1 sensitization and asthma among urban, adult Ethiopians. While they also indicate a negative relationship with two indicators of helminth infestation it appears that this is not mediated through the immunological response to common aeroallergens.