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28-10-2009 | Respiratory | Article

Alternaria sensitization linked to allergic rhinitis


Free abstract

MedWire News: Allergic sensitization to fungi of the genus Alternaria in childhood is independently associated with an increased risk for allergic rhinitis, researchers have found.

Writing in the journal Allergy, D Caillaud (Hôpital Gabriel Montpied, Clermont-Ferrand, France) and team explain: “Allergic sensitization to Alternaria [species] has been related to asthma in various studies, but its association with allergic rhinitis is still controversial.”

To investigate further, the researchers studied 6726 children, aged an average of 10 years, from six cities in France who underwent skin prick tests for sensitization to Alternaria fungi.

The children’s parents also completed questionnaires detailing whether their children had ever been diagnosed with asthma, suffered from hay fever symptoms (EHF), suffered from allergic rhinitis symptoms caused by allergens other than pollen (EAR), and/or experienced rhinoconjunctivitis in the past year (PYRC).

Overall, 2.8% of the children were sensitized to Alternaria species, and 0.8% were monosensitized. Among children who were sensitized to the fungi, 27.7% had PYRC, 27.0% had EHF and 30.4% had EAR.

After accounting from parental history of allergies and other factors, the researchers found that Alternaria sensitization was associated with a 2.34-fold increased risk for PYRC, a 2.40-fold increased risk for EHF, and a 2.95-fold increased risk for EAR.

The relationship remained significant for PYRC and EAR among children with monosensitization, even among those without asthma, at odds ratios of 3.87 and 2.88, respectively.

Caillaud and team conclude: “In our population-based study of children, Alternaria sensitization was found to be associated with allergic rhinitis in the absence of asthma, which is compatible with the mechanisms of deposition of Alternaria spores in the upper airways.”

They add: “Further investigations conducted in other population-based samples are needed to confirm and better explain our results.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2009

By Mark Cowen

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