Use of a vibrating mesh nebulizer for allergen challenge Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background: Allergen inhalation tests are a valuable research tool. The allergen dose producing an early asthmatic response (EAR) can be predicted from methacholine responsiveness and allergen skin test endpoint (STE). The Wright® jet nebulizer, which is both inefficient and increasingly difficult to obtain, has been used historically. We assessed the Solo® vibrating mesh nebulizer as an alternative for allergen and methacholine challenges. Methods: Eighteen mild atopic asthmatics completed the study. Doubling concentration allergen prick skin tests were performed to determine the STE in allergen units/mL. The Wright® protocol was used to measure the methacholine provocation dose causing a 20% forced expired volume in one second (FEV1) fall (PD20) (μg) and the allergen PD20 (units). The Solo® protocol (0.5 mL nebulized to completion, tidal breathing inhalation) was used to determine both methacholine PD20 and allergen PD20. The nebulizer order was randomized and separated by ≥ 2 weeks. Results: All data were log transformed. The allergen PD20, predicted from the methacholine PD20 and the STE, was within 2 doubling doses of the PD20 measured with the Wright® and 2.64 doubling doses of that measured with Solo®. The Wright® allergen PD20 correlated with the Wright® methacholine PD20 (r = 0.74) and the STE (r = 0.78) and more strongly with the product of the two (Wright® methacholine PD20 × STE, r = 0.91, p < 0.00001). The Solo® allergen PD20 showed similar relationships with the Solo® methacholine PD20 (r = 0.61), the STE (r = 0.75) and the product of the two (Solo® methacholine PD20 × STE, r = 0.83, p < 0.00002). The Wright® and the Solo® methacholine geometric mean PD20s were not significantly different (49.3 and 54.5 μg respectively, p = 0.62). The Wright® allergen PD20 was slightly but significantly lower than the Solo® allergen PD20 (geometric means 6.7 and 10.5 units respectively, p = 0.003). Conclusion: The Solo® allergen PD20 showed the same relationship with methacholine responsiveness and STE as did the Wright®. The Solo® allergen PD20 was slightly but significantly higher than the Wright® allergen PD20. The Solo® vibrating mesh nebulizer was well tolerated and is an acceptable alternative for allergen challenge.Trial registration NCT03491358.


  • Cockcroft, Donald W
  • Davis, Beth E
  • Blais, Christianne M
  • Boulet, Louis-Philippe
  • Boulay, Marie-Éve
  • Villeneuve, Hélène
  • Gauvreau, Gail
  • O’Byrne, Paul M
  • Howie, Karen J
  • Obminski, Caitlin D

publication date

  • December 2019