IgG antibodies, chronic bronchitis, and pulmonary function values in farmer's lung patients and matched controls

Allergy. 1999 Nov;54(11):1181-7. doi: 10.1034/j.1398-9995.1999.00275.x.


We measured IgG antibody levels against eight different microbes in farmer's lung (FL) patients an average of 14 years after the first diagnosed episode of FL and in matched controls. The study population consisted of 87 FL patients and 81 control farmers, matched by age, sex, and smoking habits. Clinical studies included the measurement of IgG antibody levels against Absidia corymbifera, Aspergillus umbrosus, A. fumigatus, Humicola grisea, Saccharopolyspora rectivirgula, Penicillium brevicompactum, Rhodotorula glutinis, and Thermoactinomyces vulgaris, in addition to spirometry, pulmonary diffusing capacity (DL(CO)), and the evaluation of chronic bronchitis. Median IgG antibody levels were two or more times higher in FL patients than control farmers against Ab. corymbifera, S. rectivirgula, and T. vulgaris (P<0.001). Against A. fumigatus, H. grisea, and R. glutinis, FL patients also had significantly higher antibody levels. FL patients often had positive antibody titers against several microbes, whereas control farmers usually had a positive titer against one or two microbes. A positive association between IgG antibody levels and chronic bronchitis and DL(CO) was observed in FL patients, but not in control farmers. It is suggested that the high antibody levels noted in FL patients were due not only to high exposure but also to individual sensitivity to environmental microbes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Fungal / blood*
  • Bronchitis / etiology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Farmer's Lung / complications
  • Farmer's Lung / immunology*
  • Farmer's Lung / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Antibodies, Fungal
  • Immunoglobulin G