Background Penicillium species have been considered as important causative agents of extrinsic bronchial asthma. However, little is known about the allergens of these ubiquitous airborne fungal species.
Objective This study cotnpares the allergenic profiles and allergenic crossreactivity among allergens of three prevaletit airborne Penicillium species.
Methods IgE-binding Penicillium components were identified by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE)-immunoblotting using sera from 67 asthmatic patients. The presence of allergenic crossreactivity was analysed by immunoblot inhibition.
Results Among the 67 serum samples tested, 15, 14 and 11 samples showed IgE reactivity to components of P. citrinun, P. notatum and P. brevicompactum, respectively. All 15 P. citrinum-positive serum samples showed IgE-binding to a 33 kDa extract component of this species. Thirteen (93%) of the 14 P. notatum-positive serum samples and 10 (91%) of the 11 P. brevicompactum-positive sera also showed IgE reactivity to components with a molecular weight of about 33 kDa in individual Penicillium species. All of the 10 P. brevicompactum 33 kDa component-positive serum samples showed IgE reactivity to the 33 kDa components of the other two Penicillium species tested. Dose-dependent inhibition of IgE-binding to these major allergens was observed when the positive serum sample was absorbed with different amounts of individual allergenic extract as well as with different amounts of extracts prepared from the other two Penicillium species.
Conclusion Although different allergenie profiles were observed in the three different Penicillium species tested, results showed that there was an IgE crossreactivity among the 33 kDa group major allergens of P. citrinum, P. notatum and P. brevicompactum.
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