Screening asthmatics for atopic status using the ALergy EXplorer (ALEX2) macroarray

Robert G. Hamilton, Mark Holbreich, Charles Bronzert, Rebecca L. Anderson, Nathan Schoettler, Carole Ober

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Screening asthma patients for atopy facilitates management. Since 2010, the core biomarker for screening asthma subjects for atopic status has been the qualitative Phadiatop. multi-aeroallergen screen. A more quantitative macroarray, the Allergy Explorer (ALEX2), shows promise as an alternative. Objective: The study’s goal was to examine the pros and cons of the use of ALEX2 in the screening of asthma patients for atopic status. Methods: We evaluated the atopic (IgE-sensitization) status in asthmatic Amish and Hutterite farm children using the ImmunoCAP and ALEX2 assays in Phadiatop equivocal and positive subjects. Results: All 42 asthmatic children were analyzed by Phadiatop and total serum IgE. Of these, 22 had a negative Phadiatop (<0.1 kUa/L) and total IgE <100 kU/L which defined them as non-atopic and they were excluded from ALEX2 testing. Of six children with equivocal Phadiatops (0.1–0.2 kUa/L-Group 1) and three children with a negative Phadiatop but total IgE >100 kUa/L (group 3), 44% (n = 4) had detectable IgE antibody by ALEX2 to mite, tree pollen, and other allergens not detected by Phadiatop, but confirmed by allergen-specific ImmunoCAP testing. In 11 Phadiatop positive subjects (>0.2 kUa/L–group 2), all but one were positive by ALEX2. IgE antibody specific for mold and rabbit aeroallergens matched their agricultural and pet exposure history. Three children were positive for IgE antibody to allergens in the profilin, nsLTP, or PR-10 cross-reactive protein families. Conclusion: Judicious use of ALEX2’s enhanced specificity data not provided by the Phadiatop can aid in the interpretation of sensitization patterns and planning management of atopic asthmatics, but sensitization relevance must be confirmed by the patient’s clinical history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Asthma
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • ALEX
  • Phadiatop
  • atopy
  • macroarray
  • multiallergen screen
  • singleplex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Immunology and Allergy


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