Clinical and immunological differences between asymptomatic HDM‐sensitized and HDM‐allergic rhinitis patients

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Confirmation of the clinical relevance of sensitisation is important for the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis.


To investigate the usefulness of an in vitro basophil activation test and component‐resolved diagnosis in distinguishing between symptomatic allergic rhinitis patients and asymptomatic sensitization to house dust mites (HDMs).


Thirty‐six subjects with a positive skin prick test (SPT) for HDM were divided into a symptomatic (n=17) and an asymptomatic (n=19) group on the basis of their clinical history and a nasal provocation test. A basophil CD63 response to in vitro stimulation with Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus whole allergen extract and the IgE reactivity profiles for Der p 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15, 18, 21, 23 were evaluated. Serum IgE and IgG specific to D. pteronyssinus whole allergen extract and total IgE were measured.


There were no statistically significant differences in the levels of IgE (IgE levels were higher in symptomatic patients with P=0.055) and IgG specific to D. pteronyssinus and total IgE. Symptomatic patients showed a lower threshold for in vitro basophil activation (3.33 ng/mL versus 33.3 ng/mL), a higher area under the curve (AUC) of basophil activation (171 vs. 127) (P=0.017), a higher response to positive control with anti‐FcεRI stimulation (97% vs. 79%) (P<0.001), a recognition of more HDM allergens (4 vs. 2), and more frequent sensitization to rDer p 7 (P=0.016) and rDer p 23 compared to asymptomatic subjects (P=0.018). There was a positive correlation (r=0.63; P<0.001) between the number of recognised allergens and the AUC of basophil activation.

Conclusion and clinical relevance

In the subjects studied the differences in the basophil response to D. pteronyssinus allergen extract, number of recognized HDM allergens and reactivity to rDer p 7 and rDer p 23 distinguish symptomatic from asymptomatic HDM sensitisation better than SPT or allergen extract specific IgE. Information regarding the clinical relevance of sensitization is important for the prescription of allergen‐specific immunotherapy.

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