A relationship between elevated scrum immunoglobulin E levels and smoking has been demonstrated in epidemiological studies. Allergy skin test data suggest that the excess immunoglobulin E of smokers is not specific for aeroallergens. It is possible that the excess immunoglobulin E is specific for microorganisms that often infect the lower respiratory tract of smokers. To investigate this possibility we utilized a radio‐allergosorbent test assay for detecting serum immunoglobulin E specific for Streptococcus pneumoniae, an organism commonly isolated from the respiratory tract of smokers with chronic bronchitis. We assayed sera of thirty smokers and thirty nonsmokers for immunoglobulin E specific for Streptococcus pneumoniae. Individual sera were considered positive for pneumococcus‐specific immunoglobulin E if the binding was at least twice the non‐specific binding at the total immunoglobulin E concentration of the particular serum. Eleven of the thirty sera of smokers and two of the thirty nonsmokers were positive for pneumococcus‐specific immunoglobulin E. By chi‐square analysis of these data, the prevalence of pneumococcus‐specific immunoglobulin E was significantly greater in the smoking group compared with the non‐smoking group (P<0·02). These results suggest that the excess immunoglobulin E of smokers is, at least in part, specific for microorganisms that infect the airways.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Clinical & Experimental Allergy|
|State||Published - 1986|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy