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Summary

The role of pyroglyphid mites in house dust allergy is well established and the major allergens from the common house dust mites (Dermatophogoides species) have been characterized. There is, however, relatively little progress in the understanding of the human IgE response to non-pyroglyphid storage mites, allergenic crossreactivity with other mite species and extent of environmental exposure. We studied 196 individuals from an urban environment who were not occupationally exposed to storage mites and found a 24% prevalence of specific IgE antibody to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and a 14% prevalence of RAST positivity to at least one of three storage mites, Acarus siro, Lepidoglyphus destructor and Tyrophagus longior. All individuals with a positive RAST to storage mites had specific IgE to D.pteronyssinus. RAST inhibition studies with the eight sera with greater than 2% RAST binding to both families of mites showed considerable crossreactivity between D. pteronyssinus and the storage mites A.siro and T. longior and limited crossreactivity between D. pteronyssinus and L. destructor. This suggests that at least some of the response to storage mites observed by direct RAST is a consequence of crossreactivity with the more abundant D. pteronyssinus.