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Release of allergens in respirable aerosols : a link between grass pollen and asthma

Taylor, Philip E., Flagan, Richard C., Valenta, Rudolf and Glovsky, M. Michael 2002, Release of allergens in respirable aerosols : a link between grass pollen and asthma, Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, vol. 109, no. 1, pp. 51-56, doi: 10.1067/mai.2002.120759.

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Title Release of allergens in respirable aerosols : a link between grass pollen and asthma
Author(s) Taylor, Philip E.ORCID iD for Taylor, Philip E. orcid.org/0000-0002-4204-1893
Flagan, Richard C.
Valenta, Rudolf
Glovsky, M. Michael
Journal name Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
Volume number 109
Issue number 1
Start page 51
End page 56
Total pages 6
Publisher Mosby
Place of publication Philadelphia, Pa.
Publication date 2002-01
ISSN 0091-6749
1097-6825
Keyword(s) grass
pollen
allergen
aerosol
asthma
air pollution
Summary Background: Asthma incidence has long been linked to pollen, even though pollen grains are too large to penetrate into the airways where asthmatic responses originate. Pollen allergens found in small, respirable particles have been implicated in a number of asthma epidemics, particularly ones following rainfall or thunderstorms.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine how pollen allergens form the respirable aerosols necessary for triggering asthma.

Methods: Flowering grasses were humidified and then dried in a controlled-environment chamber connected to a cascade impactor and an aerosol particle counter. Particles shed from the flowers were analyzed with high-resolution microscopy and immunolabeled with rabbit anti-Phl p 1 antibody, which is specific for group 1 pollen allergens.

Results: Contrary to what has been reported in other published accounts, most of the pollen in this investigation remained on the open anthers of wind pollinated plants unless disturbed—eg, by wind. Increasing humidity caused anthers to close. After a cycle of wetting and drying followed by wind disturbance, grasses flowering within a chamber produced an aerosol of particles that were collected in a cascade impactor. These particles consisted of fragmented pollen cytoplasm in the size range 0.12 to 4.67 μm; they were loaded with group 1 allergens.

Conclusion: Here we provide the first direct observations of the release of grass pollen allergens as respirable aerosols. They can emanate directly from the flower after a moisture-drying cycle. This could explain asthmatic responses associated with grass pollination, particularly after moist weather conditions.
Language eng
DOI 10.1067/mai.2002.120759
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30039852

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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