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Keywords:

  • Africa;
  • Ascaris;
  • asthma;
  • Der p 1;
  • Ethiopia;
  • helminth;
  • Necator;
  • specific immunoglobulin E

Background

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.

Objective

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.

Methods

A case-control analysis.

Results

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.

Conclusion

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.