Antibacterial antibody responses associated with the development of asthma in house dust mite-sensitised and non-sensitised children
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Background: Infants who develop house dust mite (HDM) allergy and HDM-sensitised children with severe persistent asthma have low antibody responses to the P6 antigen of Haemophilus influenzae. Objective: To measure the development of antibody to two ubiquitous bacteria of the respiratory mucosa in a prospective birth cohort at high risk of allergic disease and to assess which responses are associated with asthma and atopy. Methods: IgG1 and IgG4 antibody to H influenzae (P4 and P6) and Streptoccocus pneumoniae (PspA and PspC) surface antigens was measured in yearly blood samples of children aged 1-5 years. IgE to the P6 antigen was examined for the 5-year group. The children were stratified based on HDM sensitisation and asthma at 5 years of age. Results: HDM-sensitised children had lower IgG1 antibody titres to the bacterial antigens, and early responses (<3 years and before the development of HDM sensitisation and asthma) corrected for multiple antigens were significantly reduced for P4, P6 and PspC (p=0.008, p=0.004 and p=0.028, respectively). Similar associations with asthma were also found (p=0.008, p=0.004 and p=0.032 for P4, P6 and PspC, respectively). The IgG4 antibody titre and prevalence were similar in both HDM-sensitised and non-sensitised groups, but sensitised children had a slower downregulation of the IgG4 response. Children with asthma (27/145 at 5 years) had lower anti-P6 IgE responses (p<0.05). Conclusions: HDM-sensitised children have early defective antibody responses to bacteria that are associated with asthma. Surprisingly, antibacterial IgE was associated with a reduced risk for asthma.
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