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Pollen of Broussonetia papyrifera: An emerging aeroallergen associated with allergic illness in Taiwan

Wu, Pei-Chih, Su, Huey-Jen, Lung, Shih-Chun Candice, Chen, Mu-Jean, Lin, Wei-Ping
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.657 pp. 804-810
Broussonetia papyrifera, allergenicity, allergens, asthma, climate, confidence interval, geography, models, monitoring, pollen, relative risk, rhinitis, skin prick tests, vegetation, Taiwan
Pollen has long been recognized as a major allergen, having diverse patterns of allergenicity caused by differences in climate, geography, and vegetation. Our research aimed to explore the role of a regionally dominant pollen in Taiwan, Broussonetia papyrifera, on clinical sensitization and daily 5collected and extracted for a skin prick test on 30 volunteers recruited from a medical college. Daily atmospheric pollen levels were measured using a Burkard 7-day volumetric trap. The association between daily atmospheric pollen levels and clinic visits for allergic illness was examined using a generalized additive model with a normal assumption. After excluding four participants with a positive response to a negative control, 10 participants (38.4%) were determined to be sensitive to B. papyrifera pollen extract. The three-day lagged concentration of B. papyrifera pollen exhibited the highest risk of daily asthma visits (relative risk [RR] = 1.166, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.014–1.341) and allergic rhinitis visits (RR = 1.119, 95% CI: 0.916–1.367) when the pollen increased equally in magnitude to its mean. Our study is the first to provide evidence indicating that the most dominant airborne pollen in Taiwan, B. papyrifera, plays a major role in sensitization and clinic visits for asthma and allergic rhinitis, thus highlighting the need to integrate aeroallergen monitoring with clinical diagnosis.