Seasonal asthma caused by airborne Platanus pollen


General Pardiñas Centre of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Madrid, Spain.


This work describes three patients suffering from bronchial asthma after being naturally exposed to airborne plane-tree pollen. The three patients gave immediate response in skin tests and dual response in bronchial provocations using Platanus hybrida extract. There was specific seric IgE activity against this/these antigen(s) with the CAP system. The three patients also showed significant correlation (P < 0·001) between their rhinitis and asthma symptom-scores registered on their diary cards and plane-tree pollen counts, collected using the Burkard spore trap. Among 187 patients living in Madrid and who came to our centre with a history of rhinitis and/or seasonal asthma, we found a prevalence of positive skin-prick tests to Platanus of 56%, only surpassed by gramineous pollen (Dactylis glomerata and/or Trisetum paniceum) 92% and Olea europaea 63%. The aerobiological sampling of the pollen content of the air in Madrid, carried out between 1 January 1979 and 31 December 1993 revealed an airborne presence (per cent of total yearly pollen count, mean of 1979–1993) of 14·9% for the Platanus, 14·8% for grasses, 9·8% for Olea and 3·6% for Plantago. The Platanus is one of the most frequently found pollens in the atmosphere over Madrid. At present, in this geographical area, a high percentage of patients with pollinosis are sensitive to this pollen. At least in some of these patients Platanus pollen is capable of inducing rhinitis and bronchial asthma.