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Cereal α-amylase inhibitors cause occupational sensitization in the wood industry


Dr Moneo Centro de Investigación Clínica, Sinesio Delgado 10, 28029 Madrid, Spain.



Cereal flours are used in the wood industry to improve the quality of the glues necessary to produce veneer panels. However, up to now, no cases of sensitization to cereal flour in this kind of industry have been reported. Cereal α-amylase inhibitors have been previously described as important occupational allergens responsible for baker's asthma.


To determine whether cereal allergens were responsible for occupational sensitization in three wood industry workers.


The diagnosis was made by clinical questionnaire, physical examination, skin-prick tests to cereals, CAP and immunoblotting.


The three patients had positive skin prick tests and CAP to cereal flours. An IgE-immunoblotting revealed that only low molecular weight proteins (under 20 kDa) were detected by the three sera. These main IgE-binding proteins were members of the α-amylase inhibitor family which have been described as one of the group of main allergenic proteins in rye, barley and wheat. The three patients changed their workplace and remain asymptomatic in spite of the fact that they are still in contact with different woods and exposed to high concentrations of wood dust and other chemicals such as formaldehyde.


Proteins from cereal flours are important occupational allergens in some wood industries.

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