Individual allergens as risk factors for asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in Chinese children.Eur Respir J 2002; 19(2):288-93ER
The role of allergen sensitization in the development of asthma in the Chinese is not clear. This study aims to determine the relationship of sensitization to individual allergens, and the development of asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) in schoolchildren from three Chinese cities: Hong Kong, Beijing and Guangzhou. Community-based random samples of 10-yr-old schoolchildren from three Chinese cities were recruited for study using the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase II protocol. Subjects were studied by parental questionnaires (n=10,902), skin-prick tests (n=3,479), and methacholine challenge tests (n=608). The prevalence rates of wheeze in the past 12 months (Hong Kong, 5.8%; Beijing, 3.8%; Guangzhou, 3.4%) and atopy (Hong Kong, 41.2%; Beijing, 23.9%; Guangzhou, 30.8%) were highest in schoolchildren from Hong Kong. Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that sensitization to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (odds ratio (OR)=4.48; 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.02-6.66), cat (2.59; 1.67-4.03), Dermatophagoides farinae (2.41; 1.65-3.51) and mixed grass pollen (2.85; 1.24-6.50) were significantly associated with current wheeze. Atopy, defined as having > or = 1 positive skin-prick tests, was not an independent risk factor for current wheeze in children from any of the three cities. Furthermore, atopy (OR=2.53; 95% CI: 1.07-5.97), sensitization to cat (3.01; 1.39-6.52) and D. farinae (3.67; 1.93-6.97) were significantly associated with BHR. The authors confirmed that sensitization to house dust mite and cat was significantly associated with current wheeze and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in Chinese schoolchildren. However, the difference in the prevalence rate of atopic sensitization cannot explain the higher prevalence of childhood asthma in Hong Kong, when compared with those children from Beijing and Guangzhou.