Repeated aerosol exposure to small doses of allergen: A model for chronic allergic asthma

S. Hasan Arshad, Robert G. Hamilton, N. Franklin Adkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


To improve our understanding of the pathophysiology of chronic allergic asthma, we mimicked natural allergen exposure by giving tiny doses of dust-mite extract (equivalent to estimated daily exposure in a typical bedroom) in three weekly sessions for 4 wk. Nine mild asthmatic adults who were highly sensitive to dust-mite allergen participated in the study. Serial assessments of bronchial reactivity by methacholine challenge, pulmonary function, symptoms, and bronchodilator requirements were obtained. Seven of nine subjects had a twofold or more (median: 6, range: 2.7 to 25) reduction (p = 0.008) in PC20, after which saline inhalations were substituted for dust-mite extract. Bronchial reactivity returned to normal within 2 to 3 wk after cessation of dust-mite inhalations in all but one subject. Predosing FEV1 dropped 10% over 4 wk of provocation (p = 0.001) and 7 of 9 returned to pre-study level within 2 wk after dosing was stopped. Late-phase responses were seen in 6 of 9 subjects. We conclude that repeated aerosol exposure to dust-mite allergen in doses comparable to natural bedroom exposure is sufficient to adversely affect pulmonary function and bronchial hyperractivity in sensitized individuals. These changes are rapidly reversible. This low-dose provocational strategy pro-vides an attractive model for the experimental study of allergic asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1900-1906
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number6 PART I
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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