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1.  A study on the immunological basis of the dissociation between type I-hypersensitivity skin reactions to Blomia tropicalis antigens and serum anti-B. tropicalis IgE antibodies 
BMC Immunology  2011;12:34.
Background
Two conditions are used as markers of atopy: the presence of circulating anti-allergen IgE antibodies and the presence of positive skin prick test (SPT) reactions to allergenic extracts. The correlation between these conditions is not absolute. This study aimed at investigating immunological parameters that may mediate this lack of correlation. Individuals whose sera contained anti-B. tropicalis extract IgE antibodies (α-BtE IgE) were divided into two groups, according to the presence or absence of skin reactivity to B. tropicalis extract (BtE). The following parameters were investigated: total IgE levels; α-BtE IgE levels; an arbitrary α-BtE IgE/total IgE ratio; the proportion of carbohydrate-reactive α-BtE IgE; the proportion of α-BtE IgE that reacted with Ascaris lumbricoides extract (AlE); the production of IL-10 by BtE- and AlE-stimulated peripheral blood cells (PBMC).
Results
Total IgE levels were similar in the two groups, but α-BtE IgE was significantly higher in the SPT-positive group (SPT+). A large overlap of α-BtE IgE levels was found in individuals of both groups, indicating that these levels alone cannot account for the differences in SPT outcome. Individuals of the two groups did not differ, statistically, in the proportion of α-BtE IgE that reacted with carbohydrate and in the production of IL-10 by BtE- and AlE-stimulated PBMC. Both groups had part of α-BtE IgE activity absorbed out by AlE, indicating the existence of cross-reactive IgE antibodies. However, the α-BtE IgE from the SPT-negative individuals (SPT-) was more absorbed with AlE than the α-BtE IgE from the SPT+ individuals. This finding may be ascribed to avidity differences of the α-BtE IgE that is present in the two groups of individuals, and could occur if at least part of the α-BtE IgE from the SPT- individuals were elicited by A. lumbricoides infection.
Conclusion
The present results suggest that a low ratio of specific IgE to total IgE levels (in a minority of individuals), and differences in α-BtE IgE avidities (which would have high affinities for A. lumbricoides antigens in SPT- than in SPT+ individuals) may play a role in the down-modulation of type-I hypersensitivity reaction against aeroallergens described in helminth-infected individuals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-12-34
PMCID: PMC3118201  PMID: 21631925
2.  A guide to modern statistical analysis of immunological data 
BMC Immunology  2007;8:27.
Background
The number of subjects that can be recruited in immunological studies and the number of immunological parameters that can be measured has increased rapidly over the past decade and is likely to continue to expand. Large and complex immunological datasets can now be used to investigate complex scientific questions, but to make the most of the potential in such data and to get the right answers sophisticated statistical approaches are necessary. Such approaches are used in many other scientific disciplines, but immunological studies on the whole still use simple statistical techniques for data analysis.
Results
The paper provides an overview of the range of statistical methods that can be used to answer different immunological study questions. We discuss specific aspects of immunological studies and give examples of typical scientific questions related to immunological data. We review classical bivariate and multivariate statistical techniques (factor analysis, cluster analysis, discriminant analysis) and more advanced methods aimed to explore causal relationships (path analysis/structural equation modelling) and illustrate their application to immunological data. We show the main features of each method, the type of study question they can answer, the type of data they can be applied to, the assumptions required for each method and the software that can be used.
Conclusion
This paper will help the immunologist to choose the correct statistical approach for a particular research question.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-8-27
PMCID: PMC2234437  PMID: 17963513

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