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Keywords:

  • allergens;
  • allergy;
  • children;
  • combinations;
  • crossreactivity;
  • monosensitization;
  • patterns;
  • skin-prick test

Summary

Background Atopic individuals are frequently sensitized to a limited number of certain allergens, although most of them are exposed to multiple inhalant allergens in daily life. Objective We investigated the hypothesis that observed common patterns of sensitization might occur with similar frequency within two independent study populations of school-children.

Methods The results were derived from skin-prick tests conducted on two large samples of children (study 1:n= 583; study 2: n= 1099) examined with the same panel of six inhalant allergens.

Results In order to ensure that the comparison was uniform, the younger subpopulation of study 1 (n= 147) was compared with the sample of study 2 (n= 374). The highest frequency for monosensitization was found for sensitization to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (study 1: 18.4%, study 2: 20.3%), followed by monosensitization to grass pollens (study 1: 12.2%; study 2: 8.8%). Using multiple logistic regression for each specific sensitization, a significantly increased relative risk of sensitization to hazel pollens (study 1 OR 5.9; study 2 OR: 24.3) appeared to be associated with sensitization to birch pollens. The same applied to dog dander (study 1 OR: 7.3; study 2 OR: 2.6), which showed an association with sensitization to cat dander.

Conclusion In summary, our data suggest that certain clusters of monosensitization and polysensitization to common inhalant allergens exist among a given population. This may well be a reflection of diversity in disposition to specific sensitization and/or antigen crossreactivity. From a practical point of view the data also might help in counselling parents of allergic children.