Studies have shown that allergens are important sensitizing agents in asthma, but the study on prevalence of allergy markers in Nigerian asthmatic patients is scarce. Also, no study on serum concentration of allergen specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) in Nigerian was encountered. This study was therefore designed to investigate this dearth of knowledge. Serum samples of eighty adult asthmatic patients recruited for this study was analyzed for specific IgE using enzyme linked immunoassay (ELISA) method. Also, skin prick test (SPT) to 8 common allergens was performed on these subjects. Sixty five percent of the asthmatic patients had positive SPT reaction to at least one allergen. Dermatophagoides pteronysinnus (house dust mites (HDM)) sensitization was the most common, occurring in 45% of asthmatic patients. There was a positive correlation between the wheal diameter of SPT and concentration of specific IgE in one of the 3 allergens tested (r = 0.545, p = 0.001 for HDM). The observations of this study showed that a large proportion of asthmatic patients in Nigeria are sensitive toD. pteronysinnus and measurement of allergen-specific IgE is an effective method to determine sensitivity to HDM.
Key words: Asthma, immunoglobulin E (IgE), skin prick test (SPT), environmental allergens.
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