Evaluation of household dust mite exposure and levels of specific IgE and IgG antibodies in asthmatic patients enrolled in a trial of immunotherapy

Gail Rose, Larry Arlian, David Bernstein, Andrew Grant, Manuel Lopez, James Metzger, Stephen Wasserman, Thomas A.E. Platts-Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Monitoring the response to immunotherapy entails understanding exposure to relevant allergens. For the major indoor allergens, this requires sampling of dust from the patient's house. The objectives of this study were to measure indoor allergen levels during a controlled trial of dust mite immunotherapy for asthma and to relate these results to serum antibody levels. Methods: Eighty-eight asthmatic patients with mite allergy from seven geographic areas in the United States were enrolled in and completed a course of immunotherapy with Dermatophagoides extract or placebo control. Sensitization was evaluated by quantitative measurements of IgG and IgE antibodies. Dust samples were assayed for group I mite (Der p 1 and Der f 1), cat (Fel d 1), and cockroach (Bla g 1) allergens by monoclonal antibody- based ELISA. Results: Over the 4 years of the study, each of the houses had at least one sample that contained more than 2 μg of group I mite allergen per gram of dust. Mean mite allergen levels, however, varied over a wide range, from 0.2 μg/gm or less to more than 50 μg/gm. IgE antibodies to mite were present in sera from 78% of the patients, whereas IgE antibodies to cat and cockroach allergens were found in sera from 34% and 11% of patients, respectively. Sixty-four percent of the patients had exposure and sensitization to mite, whereas the comparable figure for each of the other allergens was 5%. Conclusions: Examination of the results suggested that allergen exposure, relative to a trial of immunotherapy, could be expressed as (1) the maximum level found in the house, (2) the percentage of sites having greater than 2 μg/gm, or (3) the mean value at the site with the maximum level. This report provides a background for evaluating the clinical results of immunotherapy in these patients and a model for the way in which sensitization and exposure should be monitored in studies of this kind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1071-1078
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996


  • Immunotherapy
  • asthma
  • dust mites
  • exposure
  • sensitization
  • skin testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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