Climate and Allergic Sensitization to Airborne Allergens in the General Population: Data from the French Six Cities Study.Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2017; 172(4):236-241IA
The results of international epidemiological surveys show large geographical variations in skin test reactivity but do not provide a rationale for such variations.
To assess the relationship between climate and allergic sensitization in schoolchildren.
In the present study, we analyzed data from a multicenter, epidemiological survey that included 6,461 schoolchildren, aged 9-11 years, living in 6 French cities scattered around France. The protocol also included a battery of skin prick tests to common airborne allergens. The crude prevalence of sensitization to each allergen was estimated for each city and then adjusted for potential confounding factors. This analysis was repeated for monosensitization and for allergens grouped into 2 categories: indoor allergens, i.e., house dust mite (HDM), cat, and cockroach allergens, and outdoor allergens, i.e., birch pollen, grass pollen, and Alternaria. We also grouped cities according to their location on the coast, i.e., Marseille and Bordeaux, or inland, i.e., Créteil, Clermont-Ferrand, Reims, and Strasbourg.
A difference in prevalence of sensitization to each airborne allergen or allergens grouped into indoor and outdoor categories was found between cities, even after adjusting for potential confounding factors. Also, a higher prevalence of sensitization to HDM, cat dander, and, broadly speaking, indoor allergens, was found in children living on the coast than in those living inland, whereas they showed a lower prevalence of sensitization to birch pollen. Between-city differences in the prevalence of monosensitization were also statistically significant. Children living in coastal cities had a higher rate of monosensitization to indoor allergens and a lower prevalence of sensitization to birch pollen. The higher prevalence of allergic sensitization in children from coastal cities is most likely due to climatic conditions, such as proximity from sea and humidity. Differences in sensitization to birch allergens could be due to differential exposure to these pollen.
These results indicate a role of environmental exposure in sensitization to perennial as well as seasonal allergens.