Atopic characteristics of adult patients with eosinophilic esophagitis

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 May;6(5):531-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2007.12.045. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Background & aims: The association of sensitization to food allergens, atopic disorders, and eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) is well known in children, but not in adults. Our purpose was to identify the spectrum of specific allergic sensitivities to environmental and food allergens within a series of adult patients with EE.

Methods: The case series consisted of 23 adult patients with biopsy-proven EE referred for allergy evaluation at an academic clinic. All patients had data that included serum measurement of specific immunoglobulin (Ig)E antibodies to common foods and spices. Patients diagnosed with allergic rhinitis had a relevant clinical history of respiratory allergy and evidence of specific IgE to environmental aeroallergens.

Results: The series consisted of 16 men and 7 women with a median age of 34 years (range, 18-57 y). Eighteen of 23 had an atopic diathesis, allergic rhinitis being the most common. Seventeen of 21 patients were polysensitized to several different environmental allergens, and 19 of 23 (82%) had serum IgE specific for one or more food-associated allergens (median, 5 foods), with wheat, tomato, carrot, and onion identified most commonly. The preponderance of environmental and food allergy was similar across all age groups and did not favor younger adults.

Conclusions: By using objective measures, our series confirms the high degree of atopy in adults with EE, similar to that seen in the pediatric population. These patients tend to be polysensitized to several environmental allergens, and the profiles of serum IgE specific for food allergens suggest that sensitization may partly be a response to inhaled allergens.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Desensitization, Immunologic
  • Eosinophilia / diagnosis*
  • Eosinophilia / epidemiology
  • Eosinophilia / immunology*
  • Esophagitis / diagnosis
  • Esophagitis / epidemiology
  • Esophagitis / immunology*
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patch Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Radioallergosorbent Test
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution