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      Association of asthma with serum IgE levels and skin-test reactivity to allergens.

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          Abstract

          We investigated the association of self-reported asthma or allergic rhinitis with serum IgE levels and skin-test reactivity to allergens in 2657 subjects in a general-population study. Regardless of the subjects' status with respect to atopy or their age group, the prevalence of asthma was closely related to the serum IgE level standardized for age and sex (P less than 0.0001), and no asthma was present in the 177 subjects with the lowest IgE levels for their age and sex (greater than 1.46 SD below the mean). The log odds ratio increased linearly with the serum IgE level after we controlled for possible confounders and the degree of reactivity to skin tests. In contrast, allergic rhinitis appeared to be associated primarily with skin-test reactions to common aeroallergens, independently of the serum IgE level. We conclude that asthma is almost always associated with some type of IgE-related reaction and therefore has an allergic basis, although not all the allergic stimuli that cause asthma appear to have been included in the battery of common aeroallergens we used to assess atopic status. These findings challenge the concept that there are basic differences between so-called allergic ("extrinsic") and nonallergic ("intrinsic") forms of asthma.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          N Engl J Med
          The New England journal of medicine
          Massachusetts Medical Society
          0028-4793
          0028-4793
          Feb 02 1989
          : 320
          : 5
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Division of Respiratory Sciences (Westend Laboratories), University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson 85724.
          Article
          10.1056/NEJM198902023200502
          2911321
          9cc668e8-d280-4965-844d-4fe0bda241ff
          History

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