RATIONALE: Allergic sensitization is associated with poor clinical outcomes in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cystic fibrosis; however, its presence, frequency, and clinical significance in non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis remain unclear.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the frequency and geographic variability that exists in a sensitization pattern to common and specific allergens, including house dust mite and fungi, and to correlate such patterns to airway immune-inflammatory status and clinical outcomes in bronchiectasis.
METHODS: Patients with bronchiectasis were recruited in Asia (Singapore and Malaysia) and the United Kingdom (Scotland) (n = 238), forming the Cohort of Asian and Matched European Bronchiectasis, which matched recruited patients on age, sex, and bronchiectasis severity. Specific IgE response against a range of common allergens was determined, combined with airway immune-inflammatory status and correlated to clinical outcomes. Clinically relevant patient clusters, based on sensitization pattern and airway immune profiles ("immunoallertypes"), were determined.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: A high frequency of sensitization to multiple allergens was detected in bronchiectasis, exceeding that in a comparator cohort with allergic rhinitis (n = 149). Sensitization was associated with poor clinical outcomes, including decreased pulmonary function and more severe disease. "Sensitized bronchiectasis" was classified into two immunoallertypes: one fungal driven and proinflammatory, the other house dust mite driven and chemokine dominant, with the former demonstrating poorer clinical outcome.
CONCLUSIONS: Allergic sensitization occurs at high frequency in patients with bronchiectasis recruited from different global centers. Improving endophenotyping of sensitized bronchiectasis, a clinically significant state, and a "treatable trait" permits therapeutic intervention in appropriate patients, and may allow improved stratification in future bronchiectasis research and clinical trials.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.