Flour protein antigens in occupational flour hypersensitivity

Savolainen, H.

In: Occupational Medicine, 1997, vol. 47, no. 6, p. 341-343

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    Thirty serum samples from clinical cases of flour hypersensitivity were analyzed for wheat or rye flour protein antibodies. The patients included 20 bakers and 10 others who also had occupational flour exposure. Twenty-three cases had antiflour antibodies which recognized antigens other than control sera in the flour protein patterns. The immunologic response of individual cases seemed very variable in view of the numerous differences between the cases in the antigen-antibody reactions. For the practical purposes, the flour protein antigens were divided in three groups, i.e., those larger than 80 kDa, those between 80 and 50 kDa and those smaller than 50 kDa. Cases with flour-induced dermatitis (n=8) showed sensitization towards antigens in all size classes while those with rhinitis or asthma showed more antigens with a molecular weight less than 50 kDa. The test offers a possibility to independently verify an exposure to flour while it does not substitute for the conventional immunologic diagnostic tests