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Allergy. 2004 Sep;59(9):946-52.

Exposure to house dust endotoxin and allergic sensitization in adults.

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GSF - National Research Center for Environment and Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Neuherberg, Germany.



It has been suggested that exposure to elevated levels of endotoxin decreases the risk of allergic sensitization.


To examine the associations between current exposure to bacterial endotoxin in house dust and allergic sensitization in adults.


In 1995-1996, we conducted a nested case-control study following a cross-sectional study performed within the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS). Data of 350 adults aged 25-50 years was analysed. Allergic sensitization was assessed by measurement of specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) against several inhalant allergens. Living room floor dust samples were taken. The endotoxin content was quantified using a chromogenic kinetic Limulus amoebocyte lysate test.


Multiple logistic regression analysis showed a negative association between exposure to house dust endotoxin and severe allergic sensitization. Odds ratios (95% CI) adjusted for place of residence, gender, age, and 'caseness' were 0.80 (0.64-1.00) for sensitization to >/=1 allergen and 0.72 (0.56, 0.92) for sensitization to >/=2 allergens using 3.5 kU/l as a cut-off value for sensitization. With regard to single allergens, the protective effect of endotoxin was strongest for pollen sensitization [aOR (95% CI) = 0.74 (0.58, 0.93)].


Our results indicate that current exposure to higher levels of house dust endotoxin might be associated with a decreased odds of allergic sensitization in adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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