Asthma and increases in nonallergic bronchial responsiveness from seasonal pollen exposure
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Serial measurements of symptoms, peak flow rates, methacholine bronchial responsiveness, and ragweed-specific IgE antibodies were made before and during the ragweed pollen season in 13 sensitized subjects. Allergen inhalation tests were carried out with aerosols of pollen extract out of season in nine subjects; isolated early asthmatic responses were provoked in four, and dual responses (early followed by late) were provoked in five. During the pollen season all subjects developed hay fever and eight had symptoms of asthma. There was a real increase in methacholine responsiveness during the ragweed season. This increase appeared before or after the occurrence of asthma symptoms and changes in flow rates and was greater in subjects with symptoms in the pollen season, dual responses after allergen inhalation tests, and higher levels of ragweed-specific IgE antibodies. The results confirm the occurrence of seasonal asthma and increases in nonallergic (nonspecific) bronchial responsiveness to methacholine from seasonal pollen exposure. They suggest that the occurrence of symptoms is closely linked to the allergic inflammatory reaction and the induction of increased nonallergic responsiveness.
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