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IgE sensitization to inhalant allergens and the risk of airway infection and disease: A population-based study

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BACKGROUND: Immunoglobulin E (IgE) sensitization, which is the propensity to develop IgE antibodies against common environmental allergens, is associated with a lymphocyte T-helper type 2 (Th2) skewed immune response and a high risk of allergic respiratory disease. Little is known about whether IgE sensitization confers an increased risk of respiratory infections in adults. We investigated the association between IgE sensitization and the incidence of acute airway infections, other infections and chronic lower airway disease events as recorded in nation-wide registries.

METHODS: We included 14,849 persons from five population-based studies with measurements of serum specific IgE positivity against inhalant allergens. Participants were followed by linkage to Danish national registries (median follow-up time 11.3 years). The study-specific relative risks were estimated by Cox regression analysis, meta-analysed, and expressed as hazard ratios, HRs (95% confidence intervals, CIs).

RESULTS: The relative risks for IgE sensitized vs. non-sensitized were: for pneumonia (HR = 1.20, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.41), other acute airway infection (HR = 0.86, 95% CI: 0.60, 1.22), infection (HR = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.90, 1.24), asthma (HR = 2.26, 95% CI: 1.79, 2.86), and other chronic lower airway disease (HR = 1.31, 95% CI: 1.08, 1.58). In never smokers, the higher risk of pneumonia (HR = 1.73, 95% CI: 1.23, 2.44) and asthma (HR = 3.17, 95% CI: 2.10, 4.76) among IgE sensitized was more pronounced.

CONCLUSIONS: IgE sensitization was associated with a higher risk of asthma, other chronic lower airway diseases, and pneumonia. However, the association between IgE sensitization and pneumonia may be explained by undiagnosed asthma causing the pneumonia. Further studies are needed for confirmation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalP L o S One
Volume12
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)e0171525
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 51504099