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Summary

We subjected seven asthmatic children to two bronchial allergen challenges, first with an extract from the house dust mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Derp) and then Dermatophagoides farinae (Der f), or vice versa. All children had elevated specific serum IgE to both species as well as reactions by crossed radioimmuno/electrophoresis (CRIE) to both group I and II allergens from both species. Immunoabsorption and subsequent analysis by CRIE showed a considerable concentration of serum IgE with specificity for epitopes common to the two species of house dust mite. Home dust sampling established that all children were exposed to Der f and only two to Der p. On bronchial provocation tests, all responded to Der f with an immediate reaction and five with a late reaction, only three of seven showed an immediate response to Der p, with four of the seven showing a late reaction. Our data could indicate that the local allergic immune reaction in the respiratory tract is sustained by ongoing exposure, and may thus have a different species specificity than the response reflected in the serum. In conclusion, our data indicates a lack of association between in vitro and in vivo tests for house dust mite allergy, which supports the continuing need for monitoring current clinical sensitization by allergen provocation tests and by measuring domestic exposure to the corresponding allergen. Extended studies are needed to support our findings.