Pilot analysis of the immune response to fungal antigens in subjects working in humidity damaged houses

Anja S. Tiilikainen1, M.D., Ph.D., Irmeli Heikkinen2, M.Sc., Kirsi Vedenpää3, M.Sc., Riitta Karttunen4, M.D., Ph.D.

1 Professor (e) of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology; 2Research Associate; 3Research Associate; 4Acting Professor of Clinical Microbiology; From Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Oulu; Oulu, Finland; Postal address: Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Oulu, FIN-90220 OULU, Finland, Telephone: +358 - 8 - 537 5868, Fax: +358 - 8 - 335 908; Correspondence: Dr. Anja Tiilikainen, e-mail: Anja.Tiilikainen@oulu.fi, or Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Oulu, FIN-90220 OULU, Finland


Although the proportion of anti-mold IgG antibody producers was largely the same among different groups of subjects tested, the highest OD-readings in EIA technique were seldom seen in symptomless controls, but generally in association with any allergy of the ”mold exposed” subjects or in patients referred to specialist analysis at the Oulu University Hospital outpatient clinic for oto-rhino-laryngology. Some subjects in each group were distinctly multi-immune (”responders” = R) and some just occasionally reactive (”low responders” = LR) against a panel of 12-16 mold antigens; of the 34 allergic subjects 6 were R and 3 LR. In vitro cultures of patient lymphocytes usually responded with a lower cytokine production to Aspergillus fumigatus antigen than to other mold antigens, in contrast to responses of lymphocytes from healthy controls. More often than not, R lymphocytes showed higher cytokine production than did LR lymphocytes; more frequently in healthy controls than in patients.

Key words: Anti-mold IgG antibodies, lymphocyte stimulation by mold antigens, anti-mold immunity, anti-mold immunity and health impairment, mold-induced cytokine excretion in vitro