Comparison of allergic responses to dust mites in U.K. bakery workers and Swedish farmers


Dr R. D. Tee, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Manresa Road, London SW3 6LR, U.K.


The IgE RAST response to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and four storage mites (Lepidoglyphus destructor, Tyrophagus putrescentiae, Glycyphaghus domesticus, and Acarus siro) was examined in 251 U.K. bakery workers and compared with that previously found in 440 Swedish farmers. Storage mites are found commonly in stored hay and grain so both these groups potentially encounter them in their work. In neither group of workers was a positive RAST (≥0.35 PRU) to D. pteronyssinus correlated with a positive RAST to a single storage mite. As in the Swedish farmers, significant though not strong correlations were found in the U.K. bakers between positive RAST responses to G. domesticus and L. destructor and to T. putrescentiae and L. destructor (P < 0.05).

Homologous and heterologous RAST inhibition studies showed there was low cross-reactivity between storage mites and D. pteronyssinus. L. destructor showed the least inhibition by the other antigens, suggesting it possessed the fewest common allergens.

The most important difference in the IgE responses between the two groups was the much higher response to D. pteronyssinus in the U.K. bakers, which was not found in the Swedish farmers whose highest IgE response was to L. destructor.