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Surveillance of fungal allergic sensitization using the fluorescent halogen immunoassay.

Green-BJ; Tovey-ER; Beezhold-DH; Perzanowski-MS; Acosta-LM; Divjan-AI; Chew-GL
J Med Mycol 2009 Dec; 19(4):253-261
Objective. Conidia derived from a small number of common fungal genera are widely accepted as the etiological agents responsible for fungal allergic sensitization. The contribution of fungal conidia, spores, airborne hyphae, and subcellular fragments from other uncharacterized fungal genera remains unclear. In this proof-of-concept study, we examined the composition of mycoaerosols that atopic women were exposed and sensitized to in their own indoor environment using the fluorescent halogen immunoassay (fHIA). Patients and methods. Mycoaerosols were collected onto mixed cellulose ester protein binding membranes (PBMs) for 30 min with volumetric air sampling pumps. The PBMs were laminated with an adhesive cover slip and indirectly immunostained with individual patient serum IgE using the fHIA. Samples were examined using confocal laser scanning microscopy and immunostained particles were expressed as a percentage of total particles. Results. All air samples contained a broad spectrum of fungal spores, conidia, hyphae, and other fungal particulates. Airborne concentrations varied between individual study participant environments. Positively immunostained conidia belonging to moniliaceous amerospores, Cladosporium, Alternaria, and many unknown species were observed in the majority of air samples. Other fungal genera including Bipolaris, Curvularia, Pithomyces, and Stachybotrys, in addition to, ascospore genera and dematiaceous hyphal fragments released detectable allergen. Twelve percent of all fHIA haloes quantified in the analysis were directed towards fungal particles. No immunostaining was detected to conidia belonging to Epicoccum, Fusarium, and Spegazzinia species. Conclusion. In addition to characterized fungal aeroallergens, we observed a wider composition of fungi that bound human IgE. Field surveillance studies that utilize immunodiagnostic techniques such as the fHIA will provide further insight into the diversity of fungi that function as aeroallergen sources in individual study participant environments.
Airborne-particles; Allergic-reactions Analytical-processes; Environmental-exposure; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Fungal-infections; Fungi; Sampling; Sampling-methods; Author Keywords: Allergen; Mold; Alternaria; Cladosporium; Conidia; Hyphae; Immunoassay
B.J. Green, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Branch, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown1095, Willowdale Road, M.S. 4020, Morgantown, WV 26505
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Journal of Medical Mycology