Atopic phenotypes identified with latent class analyses at age 2 years

Suzanne Havstad, Christine Cole Johnson, Haejin Kim, Albert M. Levin, Edward M. Zoratti, Christine L.M. Joseph, Dennis R. Ownby, Ganesa Wegienka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Background Atopic sensitization (ie, atopy) is the most commonly reported risk factor for asthma. Recent studies have begun to suggest that atopy, as conventionally defined, might be an umbrella term that obfuscates more specific allergic disease types. Objective We sought to determine whether distinct and meaningful atopic phenotypes exist within a racially diverse birth cohort using 10 allergen-specific serum IgE (sIgE) measurements from children aged 2 years. Methods Using the Wayne County Health, Environment, Allergy and Asthma Longitudinal Study (WHEALS) birth cohort (62% black), we analyzed sIgE data on 10 allergens (Dermatophagoides farinae, dog, cat, timothy grass, ragweed, Alternaria alternata, egg, peanut, milk, and German cockroach) obtained from 594 children at age 2 years. Conventional atopy was defined as at least 1 sIgE level of 0.35 IU/mL or greater. Results A 4-class solution (latent class model) was the best fit. Class types were labeled "low to no sensitization" (76.9% of sample), "highly sensitized" (2.7%), "milk and egg dominated" (15.3%), and "peanut and inhalant(s)" (5.1%). Almost one third (32.2%) of the low to no sensitization group met the criteria for conventional atopy. The highly sensitized group was significantly associated with a doctor's diagnosis of asthma after age 4 years (odds ratio [OR], 5.3; 95% CI, 1.6-17.4), whereas the milk and egg dominated and peanut and inhalant(s) groups were not (ORs of 1.6 [95% CI, 0.8-3.0] and 1.8 [95% CI, 0.6-4.9], respectively). Children of black race were more likely to be in the 3 multisensitized groups (P =.04). Conclusion Classification by sIgE patterns defined groups whose membership is more strongly associated with atopic dermatitis, wheeze, and asthma compared with conventional atopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)722-727.e2
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Atopy
  • birth cohort
  • latent class analysis
  • phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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