Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Mite faeces are a major source of house dust allergens

Abstract

The association between house dust allergy and asthma has long been recognized, and it has been demonstrated that a major allergen in house dust is related to the presence of mites of the genus Dermatophagoides1. Using extracts of mite culture for skin testing, as many as 10% of the population and up to 90% of allergic asthmatics give positive immediate reactions2. Although mites may occasionally become airborne during bed-making3, it has also been demonstrated that they ‘secrete or excrete’ some allergen1. Recently, we have shown that up to three-quarters of the serum IgE antibodies to mites are directed against a major allergen—antigen P1 (molecular weight 24,000)4. Using a radioimmunoassay it is possible to measure the concentration of this glycoprotein in both dust samples and mite cultures. These measurements, which are reported here, show that more than 95% of the allergen accumulating in mite cultures is associated with faecal particles.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Voorhorst, R., Spieksma Boezeman, M. I. A. & Spieksma, F. Th. M. Allergic Asthma. 10, 329–334 (1964).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Morrison-Smith, J., Disney, M. E., Williams, J. P. & Goels, Z. A. Br. med. J. ii, 723–726 (1969).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Cunnington, A. M. & Gregory, P. H. Nature. 217, 1271–1272 (1968).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Chapman, M. D. & Platts-Mills, T. A. E. J. Immun. 125, 587–592 (1980).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Marsh, D. G. in The Antigens. Vol. 3 (ed. Sela, M.) 271–350 (Academic, New York, 1975).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Tovey, E. R., Chapman, M. D. & Platts-Mills, T. A. E. (in preparation).

  7. 7

    Harper, G. J. & Morton, J. D. J. Hyg., Camb. 51, 374–385 (1953).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Austen, F. K. & Orange, R. P. Am. Rev. resp. Dis. 112, 423–436 (1975).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Brody, A. R., McGarth, J. C. & Wharton, G. W. N. Y. ent. Soc. 80, 152–177 (1972).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Tovey, E., Chapman, M. & Platts-Mills, T. Mite faeces are a major source of house dust allergens. Nature 289, 592–593 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1038/289592a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing