This study aimed to determine whether a preceding airway response to one allergen leads to priming of the airway responses to another allergen. Twelve asthmatic children who had positive prick tests to two allergens, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (D.p.) and German cockroach (CR), participated in a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study. We performed two consecutive inhalation challenges, D.p. challenge being followed 48 h later by CR challenge. The effect of initial (D.p.) challenge on the early and late airway responses to the subsequent (CR) challenge (CR2) was examined by comparing the responses with those to CR challenge preceded by sham challenge (CR1). The geometric mean PD20 of CR allergen in the CR2 was 2.8 BU (breath unit) (range of 1 SD; 0.77-10.4), which was 12.0-fold less than that (33.7 BU, 10.8-105.2) in the CR1. The administration of a 6.1-fold less dose (8.9 BU, 2.7-28.8) in the CR2 than in the CR1 (54.5 BU, 44.1-69.3) provoked a similar degree of late-phase reactions (18.7 +/- 7.3% vs 15.8 +/- 9.6%). Our data indicated that the early- and late-phase reactions to CR challenge were augmented by the preceding reaction to D.p. This suggests that a preceding airway response to one allergen may lead to priming, with enhancement of the early and late airway responses to the subsequent challenge with another allergen.
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