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Occupational asthma due to esparto hypersensitivity in a building worker

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Esparto is a gramineous plant that has multiple applications in today's industry. Several cases of hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) caused by esparto inhalation have been reported, but only one case of asthma caused by Aspergillus fumigatus contaminating esparto has been communicated. We report a case of asthma induced by esparto inhalation in a 58-year-old man, who is a building industry worker, with subclinical sensitization to grass pollen. The relation between clinical symptoms and work activities was supported by peak expiratory flow (PEF) monitorization; PEF values decreased by 20% the days he handled esparto. Prick test with esparto was positive. Immunoblot analysis revealed several allergens in the esparto extract, some of them present in Lolium and A. fumigatus extracts. IgE immunoblot inhibition revealed a complete inhibition of lolium and A. fumigatus IgE reactive bands by esparto proteins. The patient then avoided the exposure to esparto at work and has remained asymptomatic for the last 2 years. In conclusion, this is a case of occupational asthma caused by esparto dust mediated by IgE antibodies. Proteins of A. fumigatus as well as proteins from this gramineous plant, which cross-reacted with esparto allergens, were responsible for the disease.

Keywords: Allergic asthma; Aspergillus fumigatus; IgE; construction material; esparto; extrinsic allergic alveolitis; gramineous; hypersensitivity pneumonitis; mold spore; occupational asthma

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: From the Department of Allergy of Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañon, Madrid, Spain

Publication date: 2007-09-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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