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Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis Serology

Persons repeatedly exposed to moist, moldy hay or grain on which fungi or thermophilic actinomyces are growing may develop antibodies that cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Some individuals become sensitized to inhaled antigens and develop acute bronchospasm 4 to 6 hours after exposure. Fever, chills and shortness of breath characterize this syndrome. Many different names have been given to describe this syndrome depending on the nature of the exposure: bird-fancier’s disease, farmer’s lung, mushroom-picker’s disease, silo-filler’s disease, maple bark-stripper’s disease, paprika-slicer’s lung, and sauna-taker’s lung.

Serological testing supports the clinical diagnosis of hypersensitivity pneumonitis by detecting antibodies to a number of different environmental antigens. Patient sera is most commonly tested against a sonicate of antigens derived from Alternaria aternata, Aspergillus fumigatus, Aureobasidium pullulans, Micropolyspora faeni, Penicillium notatum, Phoma herbarum, Stachybotrys Atra, Thermoactinomyces vulgaris, and Tricoderma viridie. The presence of antibodies does not necessarily indicate hypersensitivity pneumonitis because 85% of farmers have antibodies and no evidence of disease. Antibodies may be detected in normal individuals.

Reference value is negative.

Specimen requirement is on red top of tube of blood.

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