Exposure to farm environment and its correlations with total IgE, IL-13, and IL-33 serum levels in patients with atopy and asthma

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Paulina Dydak
Barbara Sozańska


atopy, asthma, farm, IL-13 IL-33


Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate total immunoglobulin E (IgE), IL-13, and IL-33 serum level in people with bronchial asthma and atopy, and in healthy control group depending on their exposure to farm animals currently and in the first year of life.

Methods: The study included 174 individuals living in rural areas and in a small town. Standardized questions from the International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood and The European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) questionnaires were used to define asthma. Atopic status was verified by skin prick tests. Rural exposure including contact with livestock was verified by adequate questionnaire. Total serum IgE, IL-13, and IL-33 levels were assessed by ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) tests.

Results: Participants with atopy and bronchial asthma were characterized by high level of immunoglobulin E. Tendency to lower serum IgE level was observed among people reporting present contact with farm animals. Also, among those having contact with livestock in their first year of life, the analogous tendency was noticed. No difference in serum IL-13 levels in participants with asthma and atopy, and controls was observed, and there was no effect of exposure on farm animals on the concentration of IL-13. The highest IL-33 level was found in the atopic group, and the lowest in the control group. Participants currently exposed to farm animals were predisposed to have lower IL-33 serum level.

Conclusion: Exposure of farm animals currently and in first year of life may result in a lower level of total IgE. Correlation between IL-13 and IL-33 serum levels and contact with livestock was not confirmed.

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