BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Allergic rhinitis (AR), allergic conjunctivitis (AC), and asthma are characterized by activation of the immune system. The aim of this study was to explore the long-term association between AR, AC, asthma, and specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) and blood platelet and leukocyte differential counts.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: In the Danish Blood Donor Study, 14,440 participants from Central Denmark Region had platelet and leukocyte differential counts available and completed a questionnaire regarding AR, AC, and asthma. Of these participants, 8485 were tested for IgE to inhalation allergens.
RESULTS: The prevalence of AR, AC, asthma, and IgE sensitization was 19%, 15%, 9%, and 29%, respectively. AR, AC, asthma, wheeze, and IgE sensitization was associated with increased blood eosinophil concentration even in IgE sensitized participants who did not report any allergy or asthma. The strongest associations were observed for participants with current disease. We found no differences in eosinophil concentration between months without symptoms and months with symptoms of AR and asthma.
CONCLUSION: AR, AC, asthma, wheezing, and IgE sensitization to inhalation allergens are associated with increased eosinophil concentration. This may reflect a persistent inflammation even in periods without symptomatic disease.