Author(s): Di Prisco MC, Barrios RM, Hagel I, Lynch NR, Alvarez N
In order to better understand the possible relationship between allergic reactivity and infection with G. lamblia, specific IgE responses and skin test reactivity were evaluated in allergic or nonallergic Venezuelan children, with or without G. lamblia infection. Two groups of children were studied: one from our Allergy Clinic and the other from a slum area of Caracas. The total serum IgE levels in children from the slum area were significantly higher in those with intestinal helminthic parasites and giardiasis, compared with those with helminthiasis only (P < .001). In atopic children with giardiasis we also found an enhanced IgE antibody response to common environmental allergens (P < .05). As G. lamblia produces intestinal mucosal damage, we also studied the reactivity to cow milk and found that 22% of the children belonging to the low socioeconomic level demonstrated the presence of significant levels of specific IgE against this antigen. Of these milk-positive subjects, 40% were infected by G. lamblia in contrast to only 21% of the milk-negative children (P < .05). These results suggest that children with giardiasis may be exposed to greater amounts of intestinally absorbed antigens. We also studied the specific allergic response to G. lamblia, and found that in an unselected group of children of low socioeconomic level, 25% had positive skin tests, as did 50% of persons with symptomatic giardiasis. The presence of serum anti-Giardia IgE was also demonstrated in 22% of patients with giardiasis.