Component-resolved diagnosis using guinea-pig allergens elucidates allergen sensitization profiles in allergy to furry animals

Clin Exp Allergy. 2021 Jun;51(6):829-835. doi: 10.1111/cea.13873. Epub 2021 Apr 9.


Background: Furry animals are an important source of indoor allergens. Diagnosis of allergy to small pets such as guinea-pigs still relies on animal dander extracts which do not allow to define the primary sensitization source.

Objective: To identify major guinea-pig allergens and to evaluate their potential as marker allergens for in vitro IgE-diagnosis in comparison with dander extracts.

Methods: A group of patients allergic to guinea-pig (n = 29) and a group of patients allergic to cat and dog (n = 30) were recruited for the study. A panel of four guinea-pig lipocalin allergens was expressed as recombinant proteins in E. coli. Specific IgE were quantified by ImmunoCAP and ELISA.

Results: The combination of 4 guinea-pig lipocalin allergens, including 2 new lipocalins, Cav p 1.0201 and Cav p 6.0101, and the previously characterized lipocalins Cav p 2 and Cav p 3, enabled the identification of 90% of all patients allergic to guinea-pig. The vast majority had specific IgE to Cav p 1 (83%). Cav p 6 shares 54% sequence identity with Fel d 4 and Can f 6 and was found to be IgE-cross-reactive with these allergens. In the group of cat- and dog-allergic patients, 73% had also specific IgE to guinea-pig dander. However, only 27% of the cat /dog-allergic patients had specific IgE to any of the non-cross-reactive guinea-pig allergens Cav p 1, Cav p 2 or Cav p 3. The high prevalence of IgE to guinea-pig dander could be explained by IgE-cross-reactivity among serum albumins and certain lipocalins.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: The availability of specific allergen markers is essential for the assessment of primary sensitization, especially in polysensitized patients. The proposed panel of guinea-pig allergens Cav p 1, Cav p 2 and Cav p 3 is a first step to component-resolved IgE-diagnosis of allergy to small furry pets.

Keywords: Guinea-pig; IgE-diagnosis; allergen; lipocalin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cross Reactions / immunology
  • Dander / immunology*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology*
  • Lipocalins / immunology*
  • Male
  • Pets


  • Allergens
  • Can f 6 allergen, Canis familiaris
  • Cav p 1 allergen, guinea pig
  • Fel d 4 allergen, Felis domesticus
  • Lipocalins
  • Immunoglobulin E