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Inflamm Res. 2001 Apr;50(4):227-31.

Serum IgE specific to indoor moulds, measured by basophil histamine release, is associated with building-related symptoms in damp buildings.

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National Work Environment Authority, Copenhagen, Denmark.



To study the relationship between basophil histamine release (HRT) to indoor moulds, indicating specific IgE, and building-related symptoms (BRS), asthma, and hay fever in individuals working in damp and mouldy buildings.


A cross-sectional study was performed among 86 school staff members, who on average had worked 143 months (range: 3-396) in moist buildings with mould growth in the constructions. A questionnaire concerning mucous membrane symptoms, facial skin symptoms, central nervous system symptoms, hay fever, and asthma was fulfilled by the participants, and blood samples were taken. Eight mould species growing on building constructions were identified and cultivated to obtain allergenic materials for testing. The presence in serum of IgE specific to moulds was verified by histamine release test (HRT) based on passive sensitization of basophil leukocytes. The validity of the method was confirmed by parallel testing of patients allergic to grass- and birch pollen and by the shift from positive to negative response after removal of serum IgE and by using sham sensitization.


The prevalence of most BRS was between 32% and 62%. Positive HRT, showing serum IgE specific to one or more of the moulds, was observed in 37% of the individuals. The highest frequency of positive HRT was found to Penicillium chrysogenum and then to Aspergillus species, Cladosporium sphaerospermum and Stachybotrys chartarum. A significant association was found between most BRS and positive HRT, whereas no association was observed between positive HRT to moulds and self reported hay fever or asthma.


Positive HRT to indoor moulds, showing the presence in serum of IgE specific to the fungi, was found to be related to BRS in individuals working in damp and mouldy buildings. Whether the association is of causal character is a question for further studies. The test may be useful in the evaluation and study of possible mould induced BRS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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