Pigeon fanciers' lung: the mucin antigen is present in pigeon droppings and pigeon bloom.Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1998 Nov; 117(3):187-93.IA
Pigeon intestinal mucin has been implicated as an important antigen pigeon fanciers' lung. This study investigated whether mucin is detectable in pigeon droppings and bloom, the likely antigenic sources in disease.
Soluble extracts of a number of materials found in a pigeon loft were prepared and specific IgG subclass antibodies to these antigens were measured in 14 antibody-positive pigeon fanciers. Cross-reactivity between these materials and purified pigeon intestinal mucin was investigated by inhibition of anti-mucin ELISA. Mucin was purified from the soluble extracts of these crude antigen mixtures by CsCl density gradient centrifugation.
The patterns of IgG subclass responses to purified pigeon intestinal mucin and to the four materials collected from the pigeon loft were similar. Subclass differences between symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, demonstrable against purified mucin, were similarly seen against pigeon droppings and pigeon bloom. Both pigeon droppings and pigeon bloom were capable of inhibiting IgG binding to purified pigeon mucin, and mucin inhibited substantially the binding of IgG to these materials. Glycoprotein with a density similar to that described for pigeon intestinal mucin was purified from each source.
Pigeon intestinal mucin is present in a variety of materials found in the environment of the pigeon loft in a form capable of reacting with anti-mucin antibodies in the sera of exposed individuals. Reduction in exposure to these materials may decrease the likelihood of developing pigeon fanciers' lung and minimise reactions in sensitised individuals.