Background Exposure to indoor allergens, such as dust mites, has been recognized as a risk factor for sensitization and symptoms.
Objective To develop a two-site ELISA for the determination of Lep d 2 in the reservoir, to measure dust mite allergen exposure (Lep d 2, Der p 1, Der f 1 and Der 2) in farm households, and to investigate whether exposure to these allergens is associated with sensitization, asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis.
Methods Monoclonal antibodies to recombinant (r)Lep d 2 were produced with standard hybridoma technique. Dust samples from 393 households were analysed for allergen content by two-site ELISA methods.
Results A two-site Lep d 2 ELISA was developed with a detection limit of 0.09 µg/g. The assay was highly reproducible and levels of Lep d 2 showed a strong correlation with the number of Lepidoglyphus mites (rs: 0.7; P = 0.0002). Lep d 2 was detected in 20% of the homes; levels ranged from 0.09 to 1.7 µg/g of dust. Der p 1 was recorded in 59% of the samples, ranging from 0.055 to 139 µg/g, and Der f 1 and Der 2 in 40% and 50% of the samples, ranging from 0.055 to 24.5 µg/g and 24.3 µg/g, respectively. Dermatophagoides allergens were significantly higher in mattresses than in carpets (P < 0.0001), but this difference was not observed with Lep d 2. A strong relationship between immunoglobulin (Ig)E to rLep d 2 and asthma (OR = 10.4) and rhinoconjunctivitis (OR = 7.5) was seen. Furthermore, sensitization to D. pteronyssinus was significantly associated with asthma (OR: 13.7) and rhinoconjunctivitis (OR: 5.7).
Conclusion When assessing mite allergen exposure in rural homes, not only the Der p 1, Der f 1 and Der 2 allergens, but also the Lep d 2 allergen should be taken into consideration.
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