Serological responses induced in mice by immunogenic proteins and by protein respiratory allergens

J. Hilton, R. J. Dearman, D. A. Basketter, I. Kimber

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    It is known that a variety of materials, including both low molecular weight chemicals and proteins, is able to induce occupational respiratory allergy. We have shown previously that exposure of mice to chemical respiratory sehsitizers results in both a marked increase in the serum concentration of IgE and the appearance of specific IgE antibody. In the present study we have examined the characteristics of immune responses induced in mice following intraperitoneal exposure to 3 protein respiratory allergens, ovalbumin (OVA), a lipase from Aspergillus oryzae (LP) and an amylase from Bacillus subtilis (AM) and to a fourth protein, bovine serum albumin (BSA), which is considered usually not to cause respiratory sensitization. Under conditions where all proteins provoked IgG antibody responses, only OVA, LP and AM elicited specific IgE antibody. As judged by passive cutaneous anaphylaxis (PCA) assay, BSA failed to induce an IgE response. In contrast to chemical respiratory sensitizers, the protein allergens examined here failed to cause a substantial increase in the serum concentration of IgE; OVA and AM induced no increase in serum IgE and LP only a comparatively modest increase relative to control values. In conclusion, these data demonstrate that while protein respiratory allergens are able to provoke specific IgE antibody, they fail to cause a marked increase in the concentration of this immunoglobulin in the sera of treated mice. It would appear, therefore, that the mouse IgE test, which seeks to evaluate chemical respiratory sensitization potential as a function of induced changes in the concentration of serum IgE, will be inappropriate for the identification of protein respiratory allergens. Nevertheless, identification of protein allergens may be possible by exploiting the observations reported here that such proteins induce in mice specific IgE antibody responses. © 1994.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-53
    Number of pages10
    JournalToxicology Letters
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 1994


    • IgE concentration
    • IgG antibody
    • Protein respiratory allergens


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