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Allergy. 1993 Apr;48(3):183-8.

Heterogeneity of atopy. I. Clinical and immunologic characteristics of patients allergic to cypress pollen.

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  • 1Clinique des Maladies Respiratoires, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Montpellier, France.


The heterogeneity of pollen-allergic persons is well known but poorly characterized. Cypress is one of the major pollen-producing plants of the Mediterranean area. A study was undertaken to characterize the symptoms presented by patients allergic to cypress pollen and the heterogeneity of the IgE immune response between patients allergic only to cypress pollen and those who are polysensitized. Eighty-nine patients allergic to cypress pollen were studied, 26 being allergic only to cypress pollen. The IgE response was assessed by skin prick tests and the titration of serum total IgE and cypress-specific IgE by RAST. Clinical reactivity was assessed by symptom scores during the cypress pollen season and skin tests. Pollen counts were obtained. The clinical reactivity was similar in both patient groups. Rhinitis was present in all patients, conjunctivitis in 73.7-88.5%, and asthma in only 7.4-19.2%. The age of onset of symptoms caused by cypress pollen allergy was significantly greater in patients allergic to cypress pollen only. Total serum IgE was within the normal range in the cypress pollen group and significantly lower than in the polysensitized groups. Cypress pollen RAST was higher in the polysensitized group. We concluded that conjunctivitis is particularly common in cypress pollen allergy. Patients allergic only to cypress pollen may be unique in their way of expressing serum total IgE levels.

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