The role and remediation of animal allergens in allergic diseases

Martin D. Chapman, Robert A. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Animal allergens are common causes of both acute and chronic allergic disease. The most important animal allergens are derived from mammals, principally cats, dogs, rats, mice, horses, and cows, which secrete or excrete allergens into the environment. Allergic sensitization may occur at home or in the workplace. Cat and dog allergens commonly cause allergies in the home and affect the general population. Laboratory animal handlers often have allergic reactions to rats and mice. Cow dander allergy is usually caused by occupational exposure and occurs in farmers and farm workers. Horse allergy occurs among people who regularly handle horses, either professionally or for recreational purposes. Over the past 20 years, the major animal allergens have been defined and characterized with regard to their molecular structure, immunogenicity, and environmental distribution. One remarkable finding has been the fact that most of the mammalian allergens that have thus far been cloned belong to a single family of proteins called the lipocalins. In addition to these molecular similarities, it has also been shown that most of the animal allergens are quite similar with regard to their aerodynamic properties. Although much is yet to be learned, progress is being made in our knowledge regarding the steps that may be necessary to control exposure to these allergens through environmental modifications in both homes and occupational settings. These measures include source control, air filtration devices, barrier devices, removal of carpeting and other reservoirs, and, in some cases, washing of the animal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S414-S421
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Animal allergens
  • Cat allergens
  • Mammalian allergens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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