Humoral measurement of type-1 hypersensitivity reactions to a commercial Malassezia allergen


  • This study was presented at the annual North American Veterinary Dermatology Forum in Sarasota, FL, USA, April 2005.

Daniel O. Morris, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3900 Delancey Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. E-mail:


Abstract Malassezia pachydermatis is considered to be a contributing factor to canine atopic dermatitis (AD). The purpose of this study was to investigate the humoral response to a commercially produced M. pachydermatis extract. Fifteen atopic dogs with Malassezia overgrowth on the skin (MD), 16 atopic dogs without MD, three atopic dogs with overgrowth of Malassezia in the ears only (MO), and 12 normal dogs were intradermally tested with M. pachydermatis extract at 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 PNU mL−1. All dogs were evaluated cytologically by cutaneous tape strip and bilateral ear exudate sampling to determine presence of MD or MO. Each had serum evaluated for anti-Malassezia IgE using three Malassezia extracts with an ELISA assay. The irritant threshold concentration at which healthy nonatopic dogs ceased to react was 1000 PNU mL−1. There was a significant difference in intradermal test reactivity between the atopic groups. At this dilution, 93% (14/15) of the atopic MD group, 31% (5/16) of the atopic group without MD or MO, and 100% (3/3) of the atopic MO only group reacted. There were no significant differences in the serum IgE levels as measured by the Greer ELISA assay, between any groups using any of the three extracts. These results support that Greer's M. pachydermatis extract is useful for intradermal testing of dogs with an allergic phenotype, and that atopics with MD are more likely to have a type-1 Malassezia hypersensitivity than those without. The ELISA assay may require further development in order to be useful for the diagnosis of Malassezia hypersensitivity.