Torben Sigsgaard

The Danish urban-rural gradient of allergic sensitization and disease in adults

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BACKGROUND: The reported prevalence of allergic sensitization among children is lower in rural areas than in urban areas of the world. The aim was to investigate the urban-rural differences of allergic sensitization to inhalant allergens in adults depending on childhood exposure living in an industrialized country as Denmark.

METHODS: A total of 1236 male participants of 30-40 years of age recruited from two epidemiological studies were divided into four groups with regard to place of upbringing; city, town, rural area, and farm. Allergic sensitization was assessed by skin prick tests (SPTs) to 10 inhalant allergens and measurements of serum specific IgE (sIgE) to four inhalant allergens (grass, birch, cat, and house dust mite).

RESULTS: The prevalence of allergic sensitization to inhalant allergens decreased with decreasing degree of urbanized childhood. The risk of being sensitized to one or more allergens also decreased with decreasing degree of urbanized upbringing measured by sIgE to 4 common allergens as odds ratio with 95% confidence intervals with city as reference; town 0.60 (0.39 - 0.92), rural area 0.34 (0.22 - 0.52) and farm 0.31 (0.21 - 0.46). Furthermore it was measured by SPT to 10 common allergens; town 0.52 (0.33 - 0.84), rural area 0.34 (0.21 - 0.53), farm 0.29 (0.19 - 0.45). This urban rural association was also seen for the risk of sensitization to specific allergens, rhinitis and allergic asthma.

CONCLUSION: This is the first study to show an urban rural gradient of overall allergic sensitization and specific allergen sensitization in adults depending on their childhood exposure. In this highly homogenous Western population exposure to a less urbanized childhood was associated with lower risk of allergic sensitization and disease as an adult. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer12583
TidsskriftClinical and Experimental Allergy
Vol/bind46
Nummer1
Sider (fra-til)103-111
Antal sider9
ISSN0954-7894
DOI
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2016

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