To evaluate the significance of chironomid as a respiratory allergen, we performed skin prick tests with Chironomus plumosus (CP) and Tokunagayusurika akamusi (TA) extracts on 475 respiratory allergy patients, and their specific IgE antibodies were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 106 positive reactors to skin prick test and 30 negative controls. Ninety-seven (20.4%) showed more than 2+ of allergen to histamine ratio to CP and 98 (20.6%) to TA on skin prick test. Seventy-one (73.2%) of 97 positive reactors had increased specific IgE to CP, and 34 (34.7%) of 98 positive reactors, to TA. CP-specific IgE was detected in 14 (14.4%) non-atopic asthmatics and 6 (6.2%) non-allergic rhinitis patients. TA-specific IgE was detected in 17 (17.4%) non-atopic asthmatics and 6 (6.1%) non-allergic rhinitis patients. No association was noted between skin reactivity to Dermatophagoides farinae and the prevalence of specific IgE to CP or TA (p > 0.05). The correlation between total IgE level and specific IgE level to CP and TA was poor (r = 0.07, 0.04). ELISA inhibition test suggested specificity of IgE binding and cross-allergenicity between CP and TA. It is suggested that CP and TA can induce IgE-mediated reaction in exposed patients and should be considered as important causative allergens in respiratory allergy patients in Korea.
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