Asthma and allergic diseases caused by domestic mites such as house dust mites and storage mites are major health problems worldwide. In contrast to domestic mites, spider mites are outdoor phytophagous mites causing significant damage to fruit leaves throughout the world. After several case reports of spider mite-induced asthma and allergy, cross-sectional surveys have demonstrated that spider mites are important allergens in the development of asthma and rhinitis in fruit farmers. Interestingly, epidemiological surveys have also demonstrated that spider mites are common sensitizing allergens that are related to the prevalence of asthma and rhinitis, even in the non-farming population exposed to spider mites. Protein analysis has demonstrated that crude extracts derived from spider mites contain several major allergens, and that N-terminal amino acid sequencing of the major allergens is not homologous with any previously characterized domestic mite allergens, suggesting that major allergens derived from spider mites are unique in terms of cross-reactivity to domestic mites. Taken together, these findings suggest that spider mites are important allergens in the development of asthma among the exposed non-farming population as well as among fruit farmers themselves, and that allergens derived from spider mites may be novel allergens.
Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; Institute of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Seoul National University Medical Research Centre, Seoul, Korea; and Clinical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence to You-Young Kim, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 28 Yongondong, Chongnogu, Seoul 110-744, Korea. Tel: +82 2 760 2232; fax: +82 2 745 0257; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abbreviation HLA: human leukocyte antigen