Occupational Asthma Reference

Baur X, Posch A, Characterized allergens causing bakers' asthma. [Review], Allergy, 1998;53:562-566,

Keywords: Germany, baker, oa, enzyme, wheat, alpha amylase, review

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Xaver Baur, Institute of occupational medicine, Hamburg Xaver Baur

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Although airborne allergens in bakeries and confectioneries cause one of the most common forms of occupational asthma, namely, bakers' asthma, only a few of them are known in detail so far. Here we summarize current knowledge of bakery allergens and describe our own two-dimensional (2-D) immunoelectrophoresis studies of wheat-flour allergens as well as the allergenic baking enzyme Asp o 2. Out of approximately 700 soluble wheat polypeptides, 70 show IgE binding; the following wheat-flour allergens could be identified and characterized: members of the alpha-amylase inhibitor family (14-18 kDa), acyl-CoA oxidase (26 kDa), peroxidase (36 kDa), and fructose-bisphosphate aldolase (37 kDa). However, the great majority of the soluble wheat-flour allergens, mainly located in the 27-, 55-, and 70-kDa areas of the 2-D immunoblots with pI values of 5.8-6.8, 5.9-6.5, and 5.5-6.1, respectively, are not known at present. Asp o 2, to which approximately 25% of all bakers with respiratory symptoms are sensitized, is a well-characterized starch-cleaving enzyme. We conclude that great effort is still needed to describe all major wheat-flour allergens. As shown by Asp o 2, knowledge of the causative allergens and their characteristics enables us to initiate very effective preventive measures such as the introduction of granulated allergenic products.

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