Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Exp Allergy. 1993 Nov;23(11):957-63.

Atopy in childhood. III. Relationship with pulmonary function and airway responsiveness.

Author information

Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


The relationship between atopy and pulmonary function in children, and how these relate directly or indirectly to airway hyperresponsiveness, is uncertain. We have examined these relationships in a sample of 13-year-old children. A questionnaire on respiratory symptoms, skin-prick tests to 11 common allergens, spirometry and an abbreviated methacholine challenge test were completed by 662 members (341 boys) of a birth cohort of New Zealand children followed longitudinally to age 13. There was a significant relationship between the presence and degree of atopy, and baseline pulmonary function. Low FEV1/VC ratios were associated with a greater likelihood of airway responsiveness, not only in subjects with diagnosed asthma, but also in the full cohort and in the sub-group of 426 children who denied asthma or current wheeze. The relationships between baseline FEV1/VC and airway responsiveness were stronger in atopic than in non-atopic children, with the strongest relationships in children sensitive to house dust mite and/or cat dander. In the presence of atopy, progressively lower levels of lung function were strongly associated with a higher prevalence of airway responsiveness (P<0.001). In non-atopic subjects, only those with the most impaired lung function (FEV1/VC < 75%) showed any substantive prevalence of airway responsiveness. The relationship between the degree of atopy and the FEV1/VC ratio, although significant in univariate analysis, became completely non-significant after accounting for airway responsiveness. In 13-year-old children, atopy, especially to house dust mite and cat dander, was correlated with pulmonary function expressed as FEV1/VC ratio. Airway responsiveness likewise correlated with impaired baseline lung function. The apparent relationship of lung function to atopy occurred primarily as a result of the relationship between atopy and airway responsiveness. Atopy and impaired lung function were additive factors predicting airway responsiveness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center