JOURNAL ARTICLE

Mouse allergen is the major allergen of public health relevance in Baltimore City

Sharon K Ahluwalia, Roger D Peng, Patrick N Breysse, Gregory B Diette, Jean Curtin-Brosnan, Charles Aloe, Elizabeth C Matsui
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2013, 132 (4): 830-5.e1-2
23810154

BACKGROUND: Cockroach and mouse allergens have both been implicated as causes in inner-city asthma morbidity in multicenter studies, but whether both allergens are clinically relevant within specific inner-city communities is unclear.

OBJECTIVE: Our study aimed to identify relevant allergens in Baltimore City.

METHODS: One hundred forty-four children (5-17 years old) with asthma underwent skin prick tests at baseline and had clinical data collected at baseline and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Home settled dust samples were collected at the same time points for quantification of indoor allergens. Participants were grouped based on their sensitization and exposure status to each allergen. All analyses were adjusted for age, sex, and serum total IgE level.

RESULTS: Forty-one percent were mouse sensitized/exposed, and 41% were cockroach sensitized/exposed based on bedroom floor exposure data. Mouse sensitization/exposure was associated with acute care visits, decreased FEV1/forced vital capacity percentage values, fraction of exhaled nitric oxide levels, and bronchodilator reversibility. Cockroach sensitization/exposure was only associated with acute care visits and bronchodilator reversibility when exposure was defined by using bedroom floor allergen levels. Mouse-specific IgE levels were associated with poor asthma health across a range of outcomes, whereas cockroach-specific IgE levels were not. The relationships between asthma outcomes and mouse allergen were independent of cockroach allergen. Although sensitization/exposure to both mouse and cockroach was generally associated with worse asthma, mouse sensitization/exposure was the primary contributor to these relationships.

CONCLUSIONS: In a community with high levels of both mouse and cockroach allergens, mouse allergen appears to be more strongly and consistently associated with poor asthma outcomes than cockroach allergen. Community-level asthma interventions in Baltimore should prioritize reducing mouse allergen exposure.

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