Concentrations of major grass group 5 allergens in pollen grains and atmospheric particles : implications for hay fever and allergic asthma sufferers sensitized to grass pollen allergens

Schappi, G. F., Taylor, P. E., Pain, M. C. F., Cameron, P. A., Dent, A. W., Staff, I. A. and Suphioglu, C. 1999, Concentrations of major grass group 5 allergens in pollen grains and atmospheric particles : implications for hay fever and allergic asthma sufferers sensitized to grass pollen allergens, Clinical and experimental allergy, vol. 29, no. 5, pp. 633-641, doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2222.1999.00567.x.

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Title Concentrations of major grass group 5 allergens in pollen grains and atmospheric particles : implications for hay fever and allergic asthma sufferers sensitized to grass pollen allergens
Author(s) Schappi, G. F.
Taylor, P. E.ORCID iD for Taylor, P. E.
Pain, M. C. F.
Cameron, P. A.
Dent, A. W.
Staff, I. A.
Suphioglu, C.ORCID iD for Suphioglu, C.
Journal name Clinical and experimental allergy
Volume number 29
Issue number 5
Start page 633
End page 641
Total pages 9
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Place of publication West Sussex, England
Publication date 1999-05
ISSN 0954-7894
Keyword(s) allergen
starch granules
respirable particles
Phl p 5
hay fever
grass pollen
allergic asthma
Summary Background

Grass pollen allergens are the most important cause of hay fever and allergic asthma during summer in cool temperate climates. Pollen counts provide a guide to hay fever sufferers. However, grass pollen, because of its size, has a low probability of entering the lower airways to trigger asthma. Yet, grass pollen allergens are known to be associated with atmospheric respirable particles.

We aimed (1) to determine the concentration of group 5 major allergens in (a) pollen grains of clinically important grass species and (b) atmospheric particles (respirable and nonrespirable) and (2) to compare the atmospheric allergen load with clinical data to assess different risk factors for asthma and hay fever.

We have performed a continuous 24 h sampling of atmospheric particles greater and lower than 7.2 μm in diameter during the grass pollen season of 1996 and 1997 (17 October 1996–16 January 1997) by means of a high volume cascade impactor at a height of about 15 m above ground in Melbourne. Using Western analysis, we assessed the reactivity of major timothy grass allergen Phl p 5 specific monoclonal antibody (MoAb) against selected pollen extracts. A MoAb-based ELISA was then employed to quantify Phl p 5 and cross-reactive allergens in pollen extracts and atmospheric particles larger and smaller than 7.2 μm.

Phl p 5-specific MoAb detected group 5 allergens in tested grass pollen extracts, indicating that the ELISA employed here determines total group 5 allergen concentrations. On average, 0.05 ng of group 5 allergens were detectable per grass pollen grain. Atmospheric group 5 allergen concentrations in particles > 7.2 μm were significantly correlated with grass pollen counts (rs = 0.842, P < 0.001). On dry days, 37% of the total group 5 allergen load, whereas upon rainfall, 57% of the total load was detected in respirable particles. After rainfall, the number of starch granule equivalents increased up to 10-fold; starch granule equivalent is defined as a hypothetical potential number of airborne starch granules based on known pollen count data. This indicates that rainfall tended to wash out large particles and contributed to an increase in respirable particles containing group 5 allergens by bursting of pollen grains. Four day running means of group 5 allergens in respirable particles and of asthma attendances (delayed by 2 days) were shown to be significantly correlated (P < 0.001).

Here we present, for the first time, an estimation of the total group 5 allergen content in respirable and nonrespirable particles in the atmosphere of Melbourne. These results highlight the different environmental risk factors for hay fever and allergic asthma in patients, as on days of rainfall following high grass pollen count, the risk for asthma sufferers is far greater than on days of high pollen count with no associated rainfall. Moreover, rainfall may also contribute to the release of allergens from fungal spores and, along with the release of free allergen molecules from pollen grains, may be able to interact with other particles such as pollutants (i.e. diesel exhaust carbon particles) to trigger allergic asthma.
Language eng
DOI 10.1046/j.1365-2222.1999.00567.x
Field of Research 060199 Biochemistry and Cell Biology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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