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Cockroach allergens associated with asthma and rhinitis in inner-city cohort

Published online: June 12, 2019

Chronic exposure to indoor allergens can lead to the development of allergic diseases in susceptible individuals. Specifically, cockroach allergy is an important health problem in the US, which can affect up to ~80% of children with asthma. However, patterns of sensitization to specific allergens associated with disease have not been analyzed in detail for most allergen sources.

In an original article recently published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Pom├ęs and colleagues analyzed patterns of sensitization to cockroach allergens, which are associated with asthma and rhinitis. Antibody levels (IgE, IgG and IgG4) to total cockroach and to eight cockroach allergens were determined in two groups of cockroach-sensitized 10-year old children from the Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma (URECA) birth cohort, with (n = 19) or without (n = 28) asthma and rhinitis. Allergen-specific antibody levels were measured in streptavidin ImmunoCAPs, each loaded with a purified recombinant allergen from eight different groups: 1 (microvilli-associated proteins), 2 (inactive aspartic proteases), 4 (lipocalins), 5 (glutathione S-transferases), 6 (troponins C), 7 (tropomyosins), 9 (arginine kinases) and 11 (α-amylases).

IgE antibody levels to cockroach allergens and extract, but not IgG or IgG4, differed between subjects with and without asthma and rhinitis. Specifically, recognition of more cockroach allergens, with higher allergen specific IgE, were associated with disease. There was a good correlation between the sum of allergen specific IgE and total cockroach IgE (r = 0.86; p <0.001). Variable patterns of sensitization, with no immunodominant allergens, were found in both groups.

IgE antibody patterns of sensitization, together with allergen content, determine the in vitro IgE potency of cockroach extracts (Glesner et al. JACI 2019). Understanding which cockroach allergens are associated with disease will contribute to diagnosis and to the selection of extracts for immunotherapy that contain the appropriate allergens for treatment of cockroach allergy.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

Graphical Abstract