Evaluation of Basidiomycete and Deuteromycete (Fungi Imperfecti) extracts for shared allergenic determinants


Dr Carol E, O'Neil, Tulane Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Section of Clinical Immunology, 1700 Perdido Street, New Orleans, LA 70112, U.S.A.


Aqueous extracts of select members of the Basidiomycetes and Deuteromycetes (Fungi Imperfecti) were evaluated for the presence of shared allergenic determinants using skin prick and radio-allergosorbent test (RAST) inhibition. Twenty adults with perennial symptoms of rhinitis, with or without asthma, were skin-prick tested with six species of Deuteromycetes and seven species of Basidomycetes. Positive weal-and-flare reactivity to Pleurotus ostreatus was associated with Alternaria alternata, Fusarium solani and Epicoccum purpurescens. Positive skin reactivity to Calvatia cyathiformis was also associated with A. alternata and F. solani. Coprinus quadrifidus was associated only with F. solani, and Psilocybe cubensis was only associated with Aspergillus fumigatus. No other skin test associations were demonstrated. For every allergen tested by RAST inhibition, significant dose-dependent homologous inhibition was demonstrated. Although the ability of an individual heterologous extract to inhibit the direct RAST varied, inhibition was generally minimal. In the most extreme example, no heterologous allergen inhibited the A. alternata RAST. However, the Armillaria tabescens RAST was inhibited 52·6%, 38·1% and 25·1% by A. fumigatus, E. purpurescens, and Penicillium notatum, respectively, suggesting significant cross-reactivity. These results suggest that, although shared allergenic determinants exist between select species of Basidiomycetes and Deuteromycetes, crossreactivity is minimal and its clinical significance is not clear. These data confirm that for reliable diagnosis of fungal allergy, representatives of both major groups must be used.