Specific allergen immunotherapy: Effect on immunologic markers and clinical parameters in asthmatic children
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Background: Specific allergen immunotherapy (SIT) is the main treatment modality for achieving long-term symptom relief in perennial allergic diseases. Objective:The aim of this study was to evaluatethe effect of 1 year of house dust mite immunotherapy on the concentrations of 3 immunologic markers: eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), nitric oxide (NO), and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1). We also compared the effect on asthma symptoms and medication scores, allergen-specific bronchial challenge test, and the skin prick test. Methods: A total of 31 mite-allergic, asthmatic children (age range, 6-16 years) were enrolled; 19 were treated with SIT and 12 controls who had refused SIT received only drug treatment. Efficacy was evaluated using serum NO, ECP, and MCP-11 levels, and asthma symptom and medication scores, allergen-specific bronchial challenge test, and skin-prick test. The results of the tests were compared at baseline and after 1 year of treatment. Results. Serum NO and ECP levels decreased significantly in the SIT group (P =.01 and P = .018) compared to baseline, whereas control group values remained similar The serum MCP-11 level decreased significantly in both the SIT and control groups (P = .009 and P = .041, respectively). The SIT group experienced significant improvement in asthma symptoms (P = .001) and medication scores (P = .001) and skin reactivity to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (P = .020), whereas the control group did not. The results of bronchial challenge to D pteronyssinus showed a similar pattern at baseline and after 1 year of treatment in both groups. The tolerated allergen concentration increased in both groups (P < .05). Lung function tests, total immunoglobulin (Ig) E and specific IgE to D pteronyssinus and Dermatophagoides farinae did not change after a year of treatment in either group. Conclusion: SIT with D pteronyssinus improves immunological and clinical parameters in mite-allergic asthmatic children after 1 year of treatment. The skin prick test may be used as a marker of efficacy of therapy.