The Allergen: Sources, Extracts, and Molecules for Diagnosis of Allergic Disease

Richard E. Goodman, Martin D. Chapman, Jay E. Slater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Allergenic source materials include pollen, molds, animal dander, and insects; food allergens from nuts, grains, and animals; venoms; and salivary proteins from insects and ticks. Clinical diagnostic tests have used heterogeneous extracts from allergen source materials for skin prick tests (SPTs). In vitro laboratory methods using immunoassays or microarrays can detect serum IgE directed against allergenic proteins where clinical testing may not be suitable. Clinicians rely primarily on licensed commercial extracts of allergens for SPTs. Manufacturers and regulatory agencies have standardized selected extracts for identity, composition, and potency. Allergen sources contain multiple proteins. The IgE antibody responses to these proteins vary between allergic subjects as does the quantity of specific IgE. Component-resolved molecular diagnostics can be used to improve the specificity of allergy testing and resolve clinical cross-reactivities that may affect treatment outcomes. This clinical commentary will review methods for the production, evaluation, and standardization of allergen extracts from the perspective of diagnostic testing that may be useful for allergists in practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2506-2514
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Allergens
  • Allergy testing
  • Component-resolved diagnostics
  • IgE responses
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Standardization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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