, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 190-204

Development of a new, more sensitive immunoassay for human tryptase: Use in systemic anaphylaxis

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Tryptase, a neutral protease, is selectively concentrated in the secretory granules of human mast cells, and its release into the circulation serves as a clinical marker of mast cell activation. The current study describes a new, more sensitive ELISA utilizing a newly developed, mouse monoclonal IgG1 antibody for capture called B12 and capable of detecting tryptase in normal plasma and serum. The greater sensitivity of the new immunoassay results in part from a greater portion of tryptase being detected. Mean levels of tryptase in serum from normal subjects from Richmond, Virginia (4.9 ng/ml;n=56), Munich, Germany (3.8 ng/ml;n=19), and Amersfoort, The Netherlands (1.9 ng/ml;n=8) were as indicated. In 62 subjects with ongoing allergic rhinitis, tryptase levels were no different in serum than for 19 normal controls, indicating that local mast cell activation is not necessarily reflected in the circulation. In 61 subjects sensitive to honey bee or yellow jacket venom by history, the 17 destined to have a severe, hypotensive response to a sting challenge had higher levels of tryptase at baseline than mild reactors, nonreactors, and controls, suggesting that baseline levels of tryptase may predict the severity of the clinical response to allergen in sensitive subjects.