Cystic fibrosis, atopy, and airways lability
Silverman M., Hobbs FDR., Gordon IRS., Carswell F.
In a survey of cystic fibrosis (CF) in the Avon area, 48 children with CF from 40 families together with 71 of their parents were studied by spirometry, exercise tests, and pinch tests. A control group of 42 young adults was similarly tested; control data for children were taken from previously published work. The prevalence of atopy (any positive prick test) in children with CF was 48%. Sensitivity to grass pollens and house dust mite was no more common in these children (29%) than in a normal population (34%). Hypersensitivity to Aspergillus fumigatus was found in 35% of children with CF and was associated with severe lung disease. The parents had a normal pattern and prevalence of atopy. Exercise-induced airways obstruction was present in only 22% of children with CF; its association with severe lung disease rendered interpretation difficult. The parents had a normal response to exercise. Both hypersensitivity to A. fumigatus and exerciseinduced airways lability had the features of acquired characteristics. There was nothing in the present study to support the hypothesis that the possession of a CF gene predisposed to atopy.