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.