Food allergy and the development of asthma symptoms.Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol 2012 Jul-Sep; 25(3):731-40IJ
Allergies are multifactorial diseases the onset of which depends also on genetic and environmental factors in early life. Thus, environmental factors can affect the immune response and modify lung development, thereby leading to asthma. The role of the factors used to date to predict asthma development is modest, and clinical criteria should always be considered in association with familiarity for atopy. The aim of this study is to evaluate the risk of asthma in a population with positive skin prick test (SPT) (which is a reliable marker of atopy) to food allergens, regardless of clinical manifestations in the early years of life. The cohort of children enrolled in our study who had a positive SPT to food in the first three years of life had a prevalence of asthma after 7-14 years, double that of the general pediatric population. This prevalence increased significantly in patients with SPT positivity for food and inhalant allergens. We identified a correlation between the sensitization profile in children under the age of 36 months and the development of asthma during a period of 7-14 years. This study confirms that early sensitization is an important risk factor for the development of asthma, particularly in association with sensitization to inhalants, and that the persistence of food sensitization in school-age children and adolescents is associated to more severe asthma.