Abstract. To investigate the role of cereal α. and β-amylase in bakers’ asthma, we have compared the IgE response of 30 wheat-flour-allergic individuals to barley α and β-amylases with that of fungal α-amylase using radioallergosorbenl test (RAST), RAST inhibition assays and Western blotting. RAST analysis showed 29 of the 30 subjects with inhalant induced cereal allergy had positive IgE to cereal amylases, but only 16 were positive to fungal α-amylase. Regression analysis showed an association between specific IgE to wheat-flour and to barley α-amylase (r = 0.70) and barley β-amylase (r= 0.92) but a poor association with fungal α-amylase (r = 0–34). RAST inhibition showed minimal crossreactivity between barley α or β-amylase and barley and fungal α-amylase. Sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and Western blotting showed that non-reduced barley α-amylase had a molecular weight of 54 kDa and barley β-amylase a molecular weight of 64 kDa. Reduced fungal α-amylase had a molecular weight of 54 k Da. Cereal α and β-amylase appear to be important allergens in patients with allergy to flour.
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