Sensitization to Airborne Fungal Allergens Associates with Asthma and Allergic Rhinitis Presentation and Severity in the Singaporean/Malaysian Population

Mycopathologia. 2021 Oct;186(5):583-588. doi: 10.1007/s11046-021-00532-6. Epub 2021 Jul 13.


Fungal spores and conidia are the major components of total airspora in the tropical Asia environment, and their sensitization patterns are often associated with allergic diseases such as asthma, allergic rhinitis (AR), and atopic dermatitis. Hence, we recruited a cross-sectional cohort of 9223 Singapore/Malaysia Chinese adults and assessed their sensitization against Curvularia lunata allergen using the skin prick test approach. A subset of this cohort (n = 254) was also screened for specific Immunoglobulin E (sIgE) titers against a panel of 11 fungal allergens. We found significant association of Curvularia lunata sensitization with the risk of asthma (OR = 1.66, 95% CI: 1.17-2.33; p = 0.00391) and AR (OR = 1.69, 95% CI: 1.18-2.41; p = 0.00396). Among asthmatic patients (n = 1680), Curvularia lunata sensitization also increased frequencies of wheezing symptoms (OR = 1.81, 95% CI: 1.05-2.96; p = 0.0239), general practitioner/specialist visits (OR = 2.37, 95% CI: 1.13-4.61; p = 0.0157), and other asthma-related exacerbation events (OR = 2.14, 95% CI: 1.04-4.10; p = 0.0289). In our serum cohort, sensitization to Aspergillus spp. was the most common fungal sensitization, with 23.6% (n = 60) had a class 3 and above sensitization (positive sensitization; sIgE titers of > 3.5 kU/L) against this allergen. Increasing sIgE titer against Aspergillus spp. was also correlated with increased AR risk and AR-related symptoms. In conclusion, our findings emphasize an important role of fungal sensitization in the manifestations of asthma and AR in the Southeast Asian Chinese population.

Keywords: Allergy; Aspergillus; Curvularia; Fungi; Sensitization.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens
  • Asthma* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Rhinitis, Allergic* / epidemiology
  • Skin Tests


  • Allergens