Allergy Asthma Immunol Res.  2012 Sep;4(5):264-269. 10.4168/aair.2012.4.5.264.

The Cockroach and Allergic Diseases

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics and Institute of Allergy, Severance Medical Research Institute, Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Sciences, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. kekim@yuhs.ac

Abstract

The cockroach represents one of the most common sources of indoor allergens worldwide, and 40%-60% of patients with asthma in urban and inner-city areas possess IgE antibodies to cockroach allergens. In Korean homes, four cockroach species have been found, of which the most commonly encountered is the German cockroach. The pathogenic mechanism underlying the association between cockroach allergens and allergic diseases has not been fully elucidated. Allergenicity is associated with the cockroach allergens themselves, enzymatic protease activity, and ligands for pattern recognition receptors. Although allergen-specific adaptive immune responses orchestrate the cockroach allergic response, recent data suggest that the innate immune system is also a critical contributor to pathogenesis. We review the current evidence for the demographics of cockroach exposure and sensitization, characteristics of cockroach allergens, and inflammatory responses to cockroach allergens initiated through protease-dependent pathways.

Keyword

Allergy; allergen; asthma; cockroach; protease-activated receptor 2
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