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J Korean Med Sci. 1998 Jun;13(3):275-80.

Occupational asthma and IgE sensitization to grain dust.

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Department of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.


To evaluate type I hypersensitivity to grain dust (GD), its prevalence and relationship to respiratory dysfunction, we studied clinical and immunologic features, including skin prick tests (SPT), serum specific IgE, and bronchoprovocation tests of 43 employees working in the animal feed industry. To further characterize IgE-mediated reaction, SDS-PAGE and electroblot studies were performed. Our survey revealed that 15 (34.9%) subjects had work-related skin response (> or =2+ of A/H ratio) to GD, thirteen (30.2%) had high specific IgE antibody against GD. The specific IgE antibody was detected more frequently in symptomatic workers (40%) than in asymptomatic workers (11%). Significant association was found between specific IgE antibody and atopy or smoking (p<0.05). The ELISA inhibition test of GD revealed significant inhibitions by GD extract and minimal inhibitions by the house dust mite, storage mite and corn dust. Immunoblot analysis showed 8 IgE binding components within GD ranging from 13.5 to 142.5 kDa. Two bands (13.5, 33 kDa) were bound to the IgE from more than 50% of the 14 sera tested. In conclusion, these findings suggest that GD inhalation could induce IgE-mediated bronchoconstriction in exposed workers.

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