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J Asthma. 1998;35(6):489-96.

Blood eosinophilia and degree of sensitization to house dust mites in preschool and school children with asthma.

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Pulmonary Division, G. Gaslini Institute, Genoa, Italy.


In allergic asthma, there is convincing evidence that changes in eosinophil and lymphocyte state of activation in blood may reflect disease activity. We evaluated whether simple blood eosinophil or lymphocyte counts in atopic children with asthma could reflect the degree of allergic sensitization. Seventy-six asthmatic children, sensitized to house dust mites (HDM), in stable conditions at the time of the study, and 53 sex- and age-matched controls (CTR) were studied. As compared to CTR, allergic patients showed higher eosinophil numbers and percentages (p < 0.001) but similar lymphocyte numbers and proportions (p > 0.1). Both in CTR and in allergic patients, eosinophil counts did not correlate with lymphocyte counts (p > 0.05; each comparison) but positive correlations were observed between eosinophil numbers and percentages and paper radio immunosorbent test (PRIST) levels or radio-allergo sorbent test (RAST) classes (p < 0.001; each comparison). When allergic asthmatic individuals were subdivided according to their age into two subgroups (Gr), no differences were found in eosinophil and lymphocyte counts and in PRIST levels and RAST values between Gr1 (< or =5 years old [preschool children]) and Gr2 (>5 years old [school children]) (p > 0.05; each comparison). Interestingly, although positive correlations between eosinophil counts and PRIST levels were found in both subgroups (p < 0.05; each comparison), only in Gr2 did eosinophil counts correlate positively with RAST classes (p < 0.001). No correlations between lymphocyte counts and PRIST levels or RAST classes were demonstrated (p > 0.05; each comparison). These data suggest that although blood eosinophilia was similar in preschool and in allergic asthmatic school children sensitized to HDM, only in the oldest children did blood eosinophil counts appear to be related to the degree of HDM-specific sensitization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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