Skin test reactivity to natural and recombinant Blomia and Dermatophagoides spp. allergens among mite allergic patients in the UK

A Simpson, R Green, A Custovic, A Woodcock, L K Arruda, M D Chapman
Allergy 2003, 58 (1): 53-6

BACKGROUND: Many asthmatics in tropical and subtropical areas have positive skin prick tests to both Dermatophagoides spp. and to the mite Blomia tropicalis. This may be due to recognition by IgE of cross-reactive allergens between the different mite species or because of sensitization to species-specific allergens. A 14-kDa Blomia tropicalis allergen, Blo t 5, has been cloned and shows 40% sequence homology with Der p 5. The aim of this study was to investigate reactivity to B. tropicalis in patients known to be sensitized to D. pteronyssinus and to assess allergenic activity and cross-reactivity of recombinant (r) Group 5 allergens amongst these patients, who live in the UK and who are not exposed to B. tropicalis in their homes.

METHODS: Patients (n = 19) with asthma and/or rhinitis were selected based on clinical history and a positive skin prick test to D. pteronyssinus extract and were compared with non-allergic skin test negative controls (n = 10). IgE antibody responses to Blomia tropicalis, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, rDer p 5 and rBlo t 5 were compared by quantitative intradermal skin testing using serial 10-fold dilutions of each allergen. End point titre was the highest dilution giving an 8 x 8 mm wheal at 15 min. IgE antibodies to Blomia tropicalis, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, rDer p 5 and rBlo t 5 were measured using RAST, CAP and RIA, respectively.

RESULTS: All 19 patients had positive skin tests to D. pteronyssinus at concentrations of 0.001 to 1 AU/ml and 10 were skin test positive to rDer p 5 at concentrations of 10-4 to 5 micro g/ml. Positive intradermal tests to Blomia tropicalis were seen in 12/19 patients at concentrations of 0.002 to 2 micro g/ml. However none of the patients had positive skin tests to rBlo t 5. Non-allergic controls were all skin test negative at the highest concentration of each allergen tested. All subjects had quantifiable specific IgE to D. pteronyssinus, but only two had IgE to B. tropicalis. IgE to Der p 5 was found in six patients, but no patients had IgE to Blo t 5.

CONCLUSIONS: This study of patients naturally exposed to D. pteronyssinus but not to Blomia tropicalis, provides evidence for IgE mediated cross-reactivity between allergens produced by both mite species. The results suggest that the Group 5 allergens of D. pteronyssinus and B. tropicalis are species-specific.

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