IgG and IgE antibodies against Stachybotrys extract have been reported in allergic patients and residents of water-damaged buildings. Detection of these antibodies in blood was partially attributed to cross-reacting proteins from other fungi. There is a need for a specific method to detect antibodies against characteristic components of S. chartarum. We measured IgG and IgE antibodies against Stachybotrys hemolysin and proteinase-Stachyrase-A by ELISA and ELISA-inhibition techniques. Of 50 reference sera with IgE greater than 500 IU ml and positive against different mold extracts used in this study, significant elevation in IgG or IgE antibodies against S. chartarum extract was present in 25 and 21 specimens.

Of these specimens 20 (80%) and 10 (40%) were positive for IgG anti-Stachybotrys hemolysin and anti-Stachyrase-A, while 8 out of 21 sera (38%) and 17 out of 21 (81%) specimens were positive for IgE anti-Stachybotrys hemolysin and anti-Stachyrase-A respectively. Inhibition studies using Stachybotrys hemolysin and Stachyrase-A at a concentration of 50 microg/ml prevented binding of anti-Stachybotrys to S. chartarum extract. Detection of IgG as well as IgE antibodies against Stachybotrys hemolysin and Stachyrase-A and inhibition of anti-Stachybotrys binding to Stachybotrys antigens indicate that Stachybotrys hemolysin and Stachyrase-A are two major antigenic components of S. chartarum extract, which can be used in antibody assays. Measurement of antibodies against these characteristic components of S. chartarum may be considered for demonstration of exposure and possibly allergy to the fungus.

Author: Aristo Vojdani, immunosciences lab