Author(s): PlattsMills TA, Hayden ML, Chapman MD, Wilkins SR
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Abstract In order to study seasonal variation in dust-mite allergen, we obtained dust samples from bedding, carpet, and/or sofas in 12 houses in central Virginia, monthly, for 1 year. The houses included those of nine patients with asthma of whom six were allergic to dust mites. Dust samples were assayed with an inhibition radioimmunoassay for mite allergen that detects cross-reacting determinants on Der f and Der p I from Dermatophagoides farinae and D. pteronyssinus, respectively. The results are expressed as micrograms of antigen P1 equivalent (AgP1Eq). The results demonstrate that large seasonal variations in allergen, i.e., more than twentyfold, can occur in dust from all sites and are not restricted to the houses of allergic patients. However, dust from some sites, particularly sofas, remained "high" (greater than 10 micrograms AgP1Eq per gram), whereas dust from other sites remained "low" (less than 1 microgram AgP1Eq per gram) throughout the year. Levels of mite allergen generally started to rise in July about 1 month after the rise in humidity. In August to December, the mean levels of AgP1Eq in house dust were highly significantly increased relative to April to May. In keeping with this finding, in 31 of 37 sites, the highest level for the year was observed in August through December. In four sites, mite bodies were counted, and the numbers increased sharply in June to July; however, they decreased in September in parallel with falls in humidity but several months before the fall in mite allergen. Ryegrass-pollen allergen in 12 sites was also assayed in house dust, and pollen-allergen levels demonstrated a sharp increase in May or June that fell back to preseason values within 2 months. Dust was also obtained from the houses of 50 patients with acute or severe asthma. The results on these samples suggest that mite-allergic patients are more likely to have attacks in the fall at a time when their houses have greater than 10 micrograms AgP1Eq per gram of dust. The magnitude of changes observed seasonally within individual houses and of differences between houses within a close geographic area suggests that interpretation of the relationship between allergic symptoms and mite-allergen exposure will require measurement of mite-allergen levels in individual houses.
This article was published in J Allergy Clin Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Allergy & Therapy