Allergenicity of the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis felis)

Clin Exp Allergy. 1993 May;23(5):377-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.1993.tb00342.x.


Adult fleas, spent and unspent culture media were extracted and the radio-allergosorbent test (RAST) performed with sera of 48 cat flea skin test-positive individuals from the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Sixteen sera (33.6%) had a positive RAST to the cat flea extract prepared in our laboratory [1.7-11.4% of the total counts (TC) added]. Six of the 16 sera (12.5%) also contained specific IgE to allergens in the spent medium (0.8-3.3% TC). The allergen composition and strength were studied by RAST inhibition of two commercial cat flea extracts and compared with our in-house flea extract. The results demonstrated similar allergen compositions and different potencies. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of the in-house flea extract showed several Coomassie blue-stained bands (10-85 kD). SDS-PAGE immunoblots revealed five IgE-binding bands at 34, 35, 39, 54 and 60 kD. Flea allergens were quantified in eight house dust samples using RAST inhibition assays and expressed as RAST inhibition units; five of these samples contained detectable levels. Cat flea allergens may contribute to the allergenicity of house dust in areas of heavy flea infestation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Allergens / isolation & purification
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cross Reactions
  • Dust / analysis
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis*
  • Radioallergosorbent Test
  • Siphonaptera / immunology*


  • Allergens
  • Dust
  • Immunoglobulin E