Background: Epidemiologic studies have shown that the presence of IgE antibodies to house dust mite and other indoor allergens is an important risk factor for asthma.
Objective: The aim of this study was to develop a reverse ELISA (rELISA) for measuring specific IgE to Der p 2, a major Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Dpt) allergen, as a potential tool for followup of allergen immunotherapy.
Methods: Recombinant Der p 2 allergen or a monoclonal antibody to Der p 2 was used to coat plates in conventional ELISA (cELISA) and rELISA, respectively. Sera from 48 asthmatic patients with positive skin prick test (SPT+) to D. pteronyssinus extract were analyzed for total IgE and specific IgE to Der p 2, and the results were compared with a group of 41 SPT asthmatic and 30 SPT- control subjects.
Results: The sensitivity of the two assays for Der p 2-specific IgE was 3.9 EU/mL and their specificities were confirmed by inhibition tests, in a dose-dependent manner. There was a significant positive correlation between cELISA and rELISA (r = 0.74; P < 0.0001). However, rELISA was more sensitive than was cELISA, regarding both the positive sera percentage (70.8% vs 52.1%) and the Der p 2-specific IgE levels (28.4 vs 4.5 EU/mL) in SPT+ asthmatic patients.
Conclusions: rELISA has shown to be a sensitive and alternative method for measuring Der p 2-specific IgE without using radioactive techniques. Detection of specific IgE to major allergens and relevant peptides, and identification of B cell epitopes in allergens will provide valuable information for the design of allergen analogs and peptides for immunotherapy.