Background: Effects of air pollution exposure on IgE-mediated response in asthmatics are poorly investigated. The aim was to examine the relationship between air pollution concentrations and total IgE levels in adult asthmatics.
Methods: The present study relates to the 369 asthmatic adults from the French Epidemiological study on Genetics and Environment of Asthma (EGEA), with availability of data on both total serum IgE measurements and air pollution concentrations. Geo-statistical models were performed on 4 × 4 km grids to assess individual outdoor air pollution exposure. Annual outdoor concentrations of ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and particulate matter smaller than 10 μm size (PM10), and concentrations of summer ozone were assigned to subject’s home address.
Results: The geometric mean of total IgE was 161 IU/ml and the average of O3 exposure was 44.9 ± 9.5 μg/m3. Ozone concentrations were positively related to total IgE levels and an increase of 10 μg/m3 of O3 resulted in an increase of 20.4% (95% CI = 3.0–40.7) in total IgE levels. Adjustment for age, gender, smoking habits and previous life in the countryside did not change the results, and an increase of 19.1% (2.4–38.6) in total IgE was observed with O3. Negative associations observed between NO2 and total IgE levels disappeared after including O3 in the models. Neither SO2 nor PM10 were correlated with total IgE levels.
Conclusions: Results suggest that O3 or related ambient pollutants may up-regulate total IgE levels among asthmatic adults.