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Laboratory animal allergies. Use of the radioallergosorbent test inhibition assay to monitor airborne allergen levels.

Lewis DM; Bledsoe TA; Dement JM
Scand J Work Environ Health 1988 May/Jun; 14(Suppl 1):74-76
Use of the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) inhibition assay to detect airborne allergens of laboratory animals was described. In a preliminary experiment the RAST inhibition assay was used to screen sera from 36 laboratory workers exposed to rats and to identify individuals with high immunoglobulin-E (IgE) antibodies to allergens in rat epithelium and urine extracts. Five individuals had relatively high concentrations of IgE antibodies. Additional sera were collected from these subjects to be used as a reference pool. Plots of the percentage of bound radioactivity versus protein content of the extracts were linear, correlation coefficient 0.97 or higher. The detection limits for allergens in rat urine and epithelium were 0.6 and 1.4 micrograms per milliliter, respectively. Air samples were collected in a NIOSH animal laboratory and examined for allergens by the RAST system. The highest concentrations of allergens were found in animal holding rooms or cage dumping and cleaning areas. Detectable amounts of allergens were found in the locker room and work break room. Rat urine and epithelium extracts were chromatographed on a Sephacryl S-300 column and the major protein fractions were assayed for allergen content. Two peaks of allergenic activity were found in the urine extracts indicating that rat urine contained at least two allergens. Allergenic activity in the epithelial extract was widely distributed in the column eluate indicating that the rat epithelium contained a more complex mixture of allergens than urine. The authors conclude that the RAST inhibition assay is a sensitive method for detecting airborne allergens of laboratory animals.
NIOSH-Author; Laboratory-animals; Occupational-exposure; Laboratory-techniques; Immunochemistry; Blood-serum; Immunoglobulins; Laboratory-workers; Chromatographic-analysis
Division of Respiratory DiseaseStudies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
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NIOSH Division
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Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division