Analysis of allergens in rat fur and saliva

S. Gordon*, R. D. Tee, M. C. Stuart, A. J. Newman Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: The fur is an important source of allergens in many mammal species, but this source has not been extensively studied in rats. Rat room dust contains high-molecular-weight allergens that have been found to cross-react with fur and its presumed salivary contaminants. The role of rat fur and saliva as a source of respiratory allergens merits further investigation. The objective was to describe the allergens present in the fur and saliva of male rats. Methods: Allergen extracts were prepared from the saliva and fur of the pelts from adult male rats. Immunoblotting was used to describe the allergens present in rat fur and saliva with serum from 76 and 25 individuals, respectively. Results: There was considerable variation between the individuals in the binding of IgE to the separated fur and saliva allergens. Immunoblot analysis identified 23 allergens in rat fur. "Major" allergens were found at the "origin", and at 55, 51, 19, and 17 kDa, and "intermediate" allergens at 74, 67 (probably albumin), and 21.5 (diffuse) kDa. Seventeen salivary allergens were described with "major" allergens at 21.5, 19.5, 19, 18, and 17.5 kDa. Many subjects had IgE to the 67 kDa (56%) and 43 kDa (64%) allergens but the density of staining was weak. Conclusions: Rat fur and saliva are the sources of many allergens. Fur contained five "major" allergens and was a complex source of allergens of relatively high molecular weight (> 22 kDa). The most important salivary allergens have molecular weights of less than 22 kDa. Fur is the most probable source of the high-molecular-weight allergens found in rat room dust.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)563-567
    Number of pages5
    JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    • Allergen
    • Fur
    • Laboratory animal allergy
    • Occupational asthma
    • Pelt
    • Rat
    • Saliva


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