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Zahradnik, Eva; Sander, Ingrid; Bruckmaier, Lydia; Flagge, Angelika; Fleischer, Christina; Schierl, Rudolf; Nowak, Dennis; Sültz, Joachim; Spickenheuer, Anne; Noss, Ilka; Brüning, Thomas; Raulf-Heimsoth, Monika (2011): Development of a Sandwich ELISA to Measure Exposure to Occupational Cow Hair Allergens. In: International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, No. 3: pp. 225-233




Background: Cow hair and dander are important inducers of occupational allergies in cattle-exposed farmers. To estimate allergen exposure in farming environments, a sensitive enzyme immunoassay was developed to measure cow hair allergens. Methods: A sandwich ELISA was developed using polyclonal rabbit antibodies against a mixture of hair extracts from different cattle breeds. To assess the specificity of the assay, extracts from other mammalian epithelia, mites, molds and grains were tested. To validate the new assay, cow hair allergens were measured in passive airborne dust samples from the stables and homes of farmers. Dust was collected with electrostatic dust fall collectors (EDCs). Results: The sandwich ELISA was found to be very sensitive (detection limit: 0.1 ng/ml) and highly reproducible, demonstrating intra-and interassay coefficients of variation of 4 and 10%, respectively. The assay showed no reactivity with mites, molds and grains, but some cross-reactivity with other mammalian epithelia, with the strongest reaction with goat. Using EDCs for dust sampling, high concentrations of bovine allergens were measured in cow stables (4,760-559,400 mu g/m(2)). In addition, bovine allergens were detected in all areas of cattle farmer dwellings. A large variation was found between individual samples (0.3-900 mu g/m(2)) and significantly higher values were discovered in changing rooms. Conclusion: The ELISA developed for the detection of cow hair proteins is a useful tool for allergen quantification in occupational and home environments. Based on its low detection limit, this test is sensitive enough to detect allergens in passive airborne dust. Copyright (C) 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel