Current mite, cat, and dog allergen exposure, pet ownership, and sensitization to inhalant allergens in adults

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Feb;111(2):402-7. doi: 10.1067/mai.2003.55.


Background: Simultaneous exposure to more than one allergen might modify the effect of individual allergens.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of current exposures to mite, cat, and dog allergen and pet ownership on sensitization in adults.

Methods: Questionnaires, skin tests, and home visits (Der p 1, Fel d 1, and Can f 1, ELISA; mattresses, living room floors) were performed in 2502 adults. Allergen exposure was treated as a continuous variable and divided into quartiles. To investigate the interaction between allergens, quartiles for 3 allergens were added, creating arbitrary combined exposure categories.

Results: In the univariate analysis, mite sensitization was associated with Der p 1 in mattresses (odds ratio [OR], 1.10; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.19; P =.03) and with Can f 1 in living room floors (OR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.17; P =.05). In a multivariate regression analysis, Der p 1 in mattresses remained an independent associate of mite sensitization (OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.23; P =.03) and pollen sensitization (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.36; P =.0001). The proportion of subjects sensitized to mite increased significantly with the increasing combined exposure categories (P <.0001). The highest prevalence of sensitization to cat and dog was in the medium combined exposure categories. Cat ownership was associated with a reduced prevalence of sensitization to cats (P =.002) and a reduced prevalence of sensitization to dog (P =.003) but had no effect on sensitization to mite and pollen.

Conclusions: Sensitization to dust mites increased with the increasing combined exposure. Cat ownership was associated with a lower prevalence of sensitization to cat and dog but not to mite and grass pollen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Allergens / administration & dosage
  • Allergens / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic / immunology*
  • Antigens, Dermatophagoides / analysis
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Arthropod Proteins
  • Cats
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus / immunology*
  • Dogs
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / analysis
  • Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / etiology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Skin Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Dermatophagoides
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Arthropod Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • allergen Can f I
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus antigen p 1
  • Fel d 1 protein, Felis domesticus