Relationship between skin reactions to common allergens and non-specific bronchial reactivity in young healthy subjects


Dr D. Charpin, Department of Chest Diseases and Allergology, Hôpital Sainte-Marguerite, BP 29, 13277 Marseille Cedex 9, France.


In patients with respiratory symptoms, several studies have provided data supporting the hypothesis that there is a causal relationship between allergen exposure and variations in bronchial reactivity. In order to determine if this relationship holds when atopy is defined only on the basis of positive skin tests to common allergens, we compared bronchial reactivity in a group of twelve healthy subjects with positive skin tests and twenty-eight healthy subjects with negative tests. The two groups were comparable in terms of gender, age, smoking habits and family history of atopic diseases. The slopes of the dose-response curves, using airway conductance as an index of response, were similar in the two groups. Thus, in this healthy group of subjects, there was no relationship between skin and bronchial reactivity. It can be hypothesized that, if genetic factors determine bronchial reactivity, such reactivity might not be revealed until skin-test positive subjects have received repeated bronchial stimulation through inhalant allergens.