Background A considerable proportion of animal-allergic patients are sensitized to both cat and dog allergens but knowledge about cross-reactive allergens in cat and dog dander is limited.
Objective To investigate whether dog dander contains an allergen that cross-reacts with the major cat allergen, Fel d 1.
Methods Recombinant Fel d 1 with the same immunological properties as natural Fel d 1 was used for quantitative (CAP) IgE competition experiments performed with sera obtained from cat-allergic patients (n=36). A Fel d 1 cross-reactive dog allergen was characterized by one- and two-dimensional immunoblotting using rFel d 1 for IgE inhibition experiments and with monospecific, polyclonal rabbit anti-recombinant Fel d 1 antibodies.
Results In 25% of Fel d 1-reactive cat-allergic patients, more than 50% inhibition of IgE reactivity to dog allergens was achieved with recombinant Fel d 1. An Fel d 1 cross-reactive 20 kDa allergen with a pI of approximately 3.4 was detected in dander extracts of several different dog breeds.
Conclusion This is the first report demonstrating the presence of an Fel d 1-like allergen in dog dander extracts, which may be responsible for double positivity to cat and dog in serology. However, the clinical relevance of this cross-sensitization needs to be confirmed. These results are important for the diagnostic and therapeutic use of dog dander allergen extracts.