Relationship between skin-prick tests, the multiple allergosorbent test and symptoms of allergic disease


Dr J. P. Finnerty, Medicine 1, Level D, Centre Block, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO9 4XY, U.K.


In 47 atopic subjects, skin-prick testing to 10 common allergens was performed, and specific IgE to the same allergens was assessed by the multi-allergosorbent chemiluminescent assay (MAST-CLA). Overall agreement between the tests was 66.4% for conventionally positive skin tests (weal diameter geqslant R: gt-or-equal, slanted3 mm), rising to 78.5% when a positive skin test was defined as having a weal diameter greater than or equal to 5 mm. Agreement between the tests was statistically significant for all allergens except Alternaria. A history was obtained from each subject of the presence or absence of allergic symptoms on exposure to cats, and whether there was a history of grass pollen allergy. MAST-CLA testing for specific IgE to cat dander predicted a history of cat allergy with an efficiency of 74.5%, while a positive MAST-CLA test for Cocksfoot grass predicted a history of grass pollen allergy with an efficiency of 85.1%. Similar results were obtained on skin testing for these allergens. We conclude that MAST-CLA gave results comparable to those obtained by skin-prick testing, and correlated equally well with the history of allergic symptoms.