Evidence is presented to support the concept that much of the allergy in cystic fibrosis (CF) is IgE mediated. Total IgE levels were higher in allergic than in nonallergic CF patients. Levels were also higher in those patients who had had the greatest number of chest infections in the preceding 12 months. IgE antibody levels to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, Timothy grass pollen, and Aspergillus fumigatus were higher in those with positive results from skin tests to these allergens. The serum IgG, IgM, and IgA levels of allergic and nonallergic CF patients did not differ but the overall mean values for IgG and IgM were higher than those reported for healthy British children. The highest levels tended to be present in patients with the greatest number of recent major chest infections and the difference was significant for IgG. 16 patients had IgA levels 72SD below the reported means for age-matched controls and 11 of these were nonallergic. IgA levels were also higher in patients who had recently experienced major chest infections. 45 of the patients were tissue types for HLA A and B antigens but no significant clinical associations with single antigens were observed. The antigen phenotype A1 + B8 was more common in datients with multiple allergic symptoms than in those with a single allergy or merely a positive result from a skin test Nonsignificant increases of W19 in patients with frequent infections and of A2 in patients presenting with meconium ileus were also noted. The data presented do not permit a choice to be made between the alternative concepts of allergy as a primary abnormality in CF, and allergy arising secondary to infection.
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