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Keywords:

  • asthma;
  • IgE (immunoglobulin E);
  • immunologic tests;
  • immunotherapy;
  • pediatrics;
  • rhinitis

Parallel follow-up of clinical and inflammatory markers during sub-lingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is highly beneficial. Twenty-four children (age 4–16) monosensitized to house dust mite were randomized to receive either active or placebo SLIT for 1 yr in a double-blind placebo controlled design (Marcucci et al., Allergy 2003: 58: 657–62). Thereafter, for 2 yr they all received active treatment. Symptom scores for rhinitis, asthma, and drug usage were daily recorded. Eosinophil cationic proten (ECP) and tryptase in sputum and nasal secretions, serum and nasal mite-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) were recorded before treatment and at 10–12 months intervals. Nasal ECP and nasal tryptase after specific nasal provocation tests were significantly reduced as compared to baseline values (p = 0.0043 and 0.0195, respectively) in the third year of active treatment. None of the other inflammatory parameters was increased. In placebo treated patients all these parameters tended to decrease only after switching to active treatment. Clinical scores did not improve in treated vs. placebo patients in the double-blind placebo-controlled phase of the study. In both cohorts a clinical benefit was observed as intra-group score reduction as compared to baseline. A significant difference was reached in patients treated for 2 yr for rhinitis and asthma (p = 0.0009 and 0.0019, respectively) but not for drug usage and in patients treated for 3 yr for rhinitis, asthma, and drug usage (p = 0.0105, 0.0048, and 0.02, respectively). SLIT in children monosensitized to mites reverted the spontaneous increase in nasal IgE and in local parameters of allergic inflammation. These outcomes were followed by a consolidated clinical improvement in the second and third year of treatment.