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Clin Exp Allergy. 2008 Aug;38(8):1275-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.03003.x. Epub 2008 May 12.

Higher immunoglobulin E antibody levels to recombinant Fel d 1 in cat-allergic children with asthma compared with rhinoconjunctivitis.

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Department of Medicine, Clinical Immunology and Allergy Unit, Karolinska Institutet and University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.



Current diagnosis of allergy and asthma to cat is confirmed using cat dander extract (CDE). We have previously engineered a recombinant major cat allergen, rFel d 1, with properties identical to the natural molecule.


The aim of the study was to evaluate IgE and IgG4 antibodies to rFel d 1 among sera from cat-allergic children and adults suffering from asthma and/or rhinoconjunctivitis (RC) in populations from Sweden and Austria.


Cat-allergic children and adults from Sweden (n=27 and 31, respectively) and Austria (n=41 and 41) with RC and/or asthma were selected. Sera were tested for IgE and IgG4 antibodies to CDE and rFel d 1 by CAP, and IgE to rFel d 1 by ELISA. Healthy subjects and non-cat-allergic patients (n=75) were included as controls.


There was a high correlation between IgE responses to rFel d 1 and CDE among the 140 patients (r(s)=0.85, P<0.001); however, measured levels to rFel d 1 were on average 30% higher (P<0.0001). Ninety-eight percent of patients and none of the controls showed IgE to rFel d 1 and there was a threefold increased risk of asthma for half of the children with the highest IgE levels [odds ratio 3.23; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.19-8.79] by ELISA. IgE responses to rFel d 1 among children with asthma were higher (median 19.4 kU/L) compared with children with RC (median 6.6 kU/L, P<0.05) and adults with asthma (median 3.0 kU/L, P<0.01). Furthermore, children with asthma displayed higher IgG4 levels than the asthmatic adults.


A single recombinant molecule, rFel d 1, is at least as sensitive for in vitro diagnostics of cat allergy as the current extract-based test. Elevated IgE antibody levels to Fel d 1 are suggested to be a risk factor for asthma in cat-allergic children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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