Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is a key feature of asthma, but it may also appear in allergic rhinitis. The type of allergen, as well as regional characteristics, play an important role in the development of BHR. The aim of our study was to analyze allergen sensitization patterns and the factors that affect BHR in allergic rhinitis patients living in temperate continental climate zone.
This study retrospectively analyzed allergic rhinitis patients from Eastern Slovakia who underwent skin-prick tests to aeroallergens, spirometry, histamine and methacholine bronchial provocation tests for evaluation of lower airway symptoms. We analyzed the associations between BHR and the pattern of aeroallergen sensitization, lung function parameters, and the total IgE and eosinophil levels.
Out of 365 allergic rhinitis patients (age range 16–64 years), 114 showed BHR. Sensitization to house dust mites (HDMs) and grass were the most common. BHR was significantly associated with sensitization to dogs (odds ratio, OR = 2.15, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.13–4.11) and Alternaria (OR = 2.15, 95% CI: 1.06–4.35); however, BHR did not show a relationship with HDMs sensitization. The levels of total IgE and eosinophils were higher in the BHR-positive group. Sensitization to more than six allergens significantly increased the probability of BHR (p < 0.01).
Dogs and Alternaria, but not HDMs, were the sensitizing agents most closely associated with BHR. High-grade sensitization and increased total IgE and eosinophil levels were characteristic clinical signs in BHR-positive allergic rhinitis patients in the temperate continental climatic zone.