Current laboratory tests are unable to distinguish healthy from allergic dogs. Unlike serum antibody responses, circulating antibody-secreting cells (ASC) are temporarily induced after each contact with the antigen. These ASC can be identified using ELISPOT and the observation of allergen-specific ASC might correlate with the causative allergens in dogs with an allergic dermatitis. In this study, blood was sampled from six privately-owned allergic dogs and six non-allergic laboratory beagles to determine the frequency of circulating allergen-specific ASC for common allergens. Blood IgE+, IgA + and IgG + cells were magnetically isolated to determine the number of allergen-specific ASC with ELISPOT for Dermatophagoides farinae, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, Alternaria alternata, birch, timothy grass, wheat, cow’s milk, bovine, chicken and lamb meat. For IgA and IgG, allergen-specific spots were observed, however for IgE, no spots were detected for any of the allergens. ELISPOT could not differentiate allergic from non-allergic dogs. When the responses to the different allergens were compared, more IgA ASC for D. pteronyssinus were observed compared to some of the other allergens which was statistically significant for the non-allergic dogs and approached significance in the allergic dogs. These findings indicate that ELISPOT can be used to identify circulating allergen-specific IgA- and IgG-secreting cells. The technique did however not detect allergen-specific IgE ASC and was unable to distinguish allergic from non-allergic dogs. Only a small number of studies have studied allergen-specific IgA in dogs. The finding that dogs have higher numbers of D. pteronyssinus-specific IgA ASC points out that apart from IgE and IgG, it might be interesting to include IgA measurements for certain allergens to analyse the complete spectrum of both the protective and pro-allergic antibody responses.
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References

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