Cockroach sensitization mitigates allergic rhinoconjunctivitis symptom severity in patients allergic to house dust mites and pollen

Weijing He, Fabio Jimenez, Hernan Martinez, Nathan L. Harper, Muthu Saravanan Manoharan, Andrew Carrillo, Puraskar Ingale, Ya Guang Liu, Seema S. Ahuja, Robert A. Clark, Cynthia G. Rather, Daniel A. Ramirez, Charles P. Andrews, Robert L. Jacobs, Sunil K. Ahuja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background Modifiers of symptom severity in patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (AR) are imprecisely characterized. The hygiene hypothesis implicates childhood microbial exposure as a protective factor. Cockroach sensitization (C+) might be a proxy for microbial exposure. Objective We sought to determine whether C+ assayed by means of skin prick tests influenced AR symptom severity in controlled and natural settings. Methods Total symptom scores (TSSs) were recorded by 21 participants with house dust mite allergy (M+) in the natural setting and during repeated exposures of 3 hours per day to house dust mite allergen in an allergen challenge chamber (ACC). In M+ participants the peripheral blood and nasal cells were assayed for T-cell activation and transcriptomic profiles (by using RNA sequencing), respectively. Participants allergic to mountain cedar (n = 21), oak (n = 34), and ragweed (n = 23) recorded TSSs during separate out-of-season exposures to these pollens (any pollen sensitization [P+]) in the ACC; a subset recorded TSSs in the pollination seasons. Results The hierarchy of TSSs (highest to lowest) among M+ participants tracked the following skin prick test sensitization statuses: M+P+C- > M+P+C+ > M+P-C- > M+P-C+. In nasal cells and peripheral blood the immune/inflammatory responses were rapidly resolved in M+P+C+ compared with M+P+C- participants. Among those allergic to pollen, C+ was associated with a lower TSS during pollen challenges and the pollination season. After aggregated analysis of all 4 ACC studies, C+ status was associated with a 2.8-fold greater likelihood of a lower TSS compared with C- status (odds ratio, 2.78; 95% CI, 1.18-6.67; P =.02). Conclusions C+ status is associated with mitigation of AR symptom severity in adults with AR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-666
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Cockroach sensitization
  • T-cell activation
  • aeroallergens
  • allergen challenge chamber
  • allergic rhinoconjunctivitis
  • house dust mite
  • pollen
  • skin prick test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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