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An overview of allergens

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Most allergens are proteins or glycoproteins that range in molecular weight from 5000 to 100,000 Da, although polysaccharides and low-molecular-weight substances may also be allergenic. Common allergens include pollens, fungal spores, house-dust mites, and animal epithelial materials but can also include drugs, biologic products, and insect venoms. The allergic response is dependent on the route of exposure. If the exposure is to an inhaled aeroallergen, then the allergic response will be respiratory in nature. Ingested or injected exposure gives rise to gastrointestinal, cutaneous, or anaphylactic reactions. The size of the pollen determines the clinical manifestation of allergy. For example, particles between 20 and 60 μm in diameter can be carried by the wind and cause nasal and ocular symptoms (allergic rhinoconjunctivitis). Particles of <7 μm can deposit in the airways and cause symptoms of asthma. Animals produce allergens in forms unique to each species. Cat allergen, most importantly Fel d 1, is buoyant and “sticky,” which means it easily remains airborne and may last in a home for up to 6 to 9 months after the source is removed. Cat allergen adheres to clothes and can be found in public places, e.g., schools. Dog allergen, particularly Can f 1, is present in dander, saliva, urine, and serum. All dog breeds produce allergenic proteins (even poodles and “hairless” dogs).
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2019

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 and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    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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