Sensitizing, irritative and inflammatory Effects

Moisture damages associated with increased mould and bacterial exposure may present a health risk to exposed persons. Exposure to mould may be a problem not only in residential buildings, but also in several workplaces and in public institutions such as children‘ s day-care facilities and schools. The relationships between the occurence of mould and possible health effects are very complex. Various disorders such as infections, irritations and annoyances as well as allergies can be caused by moulds, but only rarely is there a clear connection between the symptoms and the exposure.

There is therefore a major need to improve the diagnosis of mould IgE-mediated allergies. In addition, the exposure assessment must be optimized, if appropriate by means of new biomarkers and test systems. An IPA project is studying firstly how mould allergy diagnostics can be improved and secondly the cellular mechanisms of action of mould.

The commercially available skin-prick test solutions of mould allergens were tested by means of established protein biochemical and immunological test methods and subsequently verified with prick testing in a multi-center study. Based upon the study results, the use of skin tests involving mould extracts with a high antigen content, supplemented by determining of specific lgE against mould mixture, can be recommended for diagnosis of mould allergies. Since the mechanisms of action of disorders associated with mould are not yet known in detail, they are characterized both with regard to an environmental exposure analysis, for example in dust samples, and by analysis of the personal load (immunological response of the affected person).

The mechanistic studies enhance understanding of the action of mould exposure and enable parameters to be validated that are currently being discussed in the context of extended diagnostics and early detection of the relevant effects of mould exposure.