Clinical significance of immunoglobulin E responses to staphylococcal superantigens in patients with aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2013;162(4):340-5. doi: 10.1159/000353976. Epub 2013 Oct 25.


Background: Previous studies have reported a higher prevalence of immunoglobulin E (IgE) specific for staphylococcal superantigens (SAg) in the nasal mucosa of patients with aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD), associated with eosinophilic inflammation and leukotriene production. However, the role of SAg-specific IgE in the pathogenesis of AERD is not well understood. We evaluated the clinical significance of serum IgE specific for three types of SAg, namely staphylococcal enterotoxins A and B (SEA and SEB) and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) in AERD.

Methods: We enrolled 147 patients with AERD confirmed by a lysine-acetyl salicylic acid bronchoprovocative test and compared them with 147 patients with aspirin-tolerant asthma (ATA) and 141 healthy controls (NC). The levels of serum total IgE and SAg-specific IgE were measured using an ImmunoCAP system. Other clinical parameters were analyzed retrospectively.

Results: The prevalences of SEA-, SEB- and TSST-1-specific IgE in the AERD and ATA groups were significantly higher than those in the NC group (p < 0.05, respectively). The total IgE level was significantly higher in patients with AERD with high levels of SEA-specific IgE than in those with lower levels (p < 0.05), with significant positive correlations between total and SAE-specific IgE levels (p < 0.05). The PC20 methacholine level was significantly lower in patients with AERD with high levels of SEA-specific IgE, while a significantly higher eosinophil count was noted in patients with AERD with high levels of SEB-specific IgE (p < 0.05, respectively).

Conclusions: Specific IgE responses to SAg may increase the serum total IgE level, airway hyperresponsiveness and eosinophil activation, leading to more severe clinical symptoms in AERD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Asthma, Aspirin-Induced / immunology*
  • Bacterial Toxins / immunology*
  • Enterotoxins / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Superantigens / classification
  • Superantigens / immunology*


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Enterotoxins
  • Superantigens
  • enterotoxin F, Staphylococcal
  • enterotoxin A, Staphylococcal
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • enterotoxin B, staphylococcal