Characterization of occupational sensitization by multiallergen immunoblotting in workers exposed to laboratory animals

Department of Immunology, Hospital Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.
Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology: official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (Impact Factor: 2.6). 03/2012; 108(3):178-81. DOI: 10.1016/j.anai.2012.01.007
Source: PubMed


Studies have estimated that 10% to 23% of workers exposed to laboratory animals report symptoms of laboratory animal allergy.
To determine the level of occupational sensitization in workers exposed to laboratory animals and to develop a diagnosis system based on a multiallergen IgE immunoblot.
A total of 75 workers exposed to laboratory animals were initially studied with skin prick tests performed with animal epithelia extracts. The workers with suspected occupational disease and positive skin prick test results were further studied with the ImmunoCAP system to determine specific IgE levels to urine and epithelia allergens and with multiallergen IgE immunoblotting to detect specific IgE levels to epithelia allergens and bovine serum albumin.
Twenty of the 75 workers were studied with ImmunoCAP and multiallergen IgE immunoblotting. Nine were polysensitized and 3 were sensitized to only one animal. The results obtained by ImmunoCAP and multiallergen IgE immunoblotting were concordant except for in 3 workers, who had low or negative values of specific IgE determined by ImmunoCAP but positive allergen detections by immunoblotting. On the basis of the results of the study and the clinical symptoms related by workers, 16% were diagnosed as having occupational allergy.
Multiallergen immunoblotting by means of a unique test offers a graphic representation of sensitization to the different animals to which workers are exposed, providing additional information on the clinical symptoms caused by the involved allergens. The results presented suggest that this system can improve the diagnosis of laboratory animal allergy by obtaining a sensitization profile for each exposed worker.

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