Faculty Research 1990 - 1999


Distribution of airborne mouse allergen in a major mouse breeding facility.

Document Type


Publication Date



Air-Pollution-Indoor, Allergens, Animal, Animal-Husbandry, Environmental-Exposure, Mice: im, Particle-Size, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S

JAX Source

J Allergy Clin Immunol 1994 Nov;94(5):810-7




BACKGROUND: Occupational allergy to mice is a major cause of disability among workers in mouse breeding and research facilities. Efforts to prevent and treat allergy require a detailed knowledge of exposure levels to allergen. OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to quantitate the level of major mouse allergen (Mus m I) in central room air and immediate breathing zones under a variety of working conditions. METHODS: An Andersen sampler (Groseby Andersen, Spirotech Div., Atlanta, Ga.) was used to collect allergen in each room. A Gillian Personal sampler (Gillian Instrument Corp., West Caldwell, N.J.) collected particles in the worker breathing zone. ELISA was used to quantitate the concentration of Mus m I collected on the two collection devices. RESULTS: Total Mus m I recovered from Andersen samplers ranged from 0.2 to 1.5 ng/m3 in rooms without mice and 0.5 to 15.1 ng/m3 in rooms with mice. Allergen recovered from the zone of worker activity ranged from 1.2 to 2.7 ng/m3 in rooms without mice and from 16.6 to 563.0 ng/m3 in rooms with mice. Direct mouse contact was associated with the highest levels of exposure to Mus m I. Analysis revealed the bulk of allergen to be in mid-particle size ranges (3.3 to 10 microns) for mouse-containing rooms and in small particle size range (0.43 to 3.3 microns) for non-mouse-containing rooms, suggesting that small particles were carried along corridors from rooms with mice into non-mouse-containing rooms. Ventilation characteristics of rooms and mouse population density were evaluated with a mouse loading index (number of mice per cubic meter of ventilated air per hour). Mouse loading correlated strongly with small particles (< 3.3 microns) in ambient air. CONCLUSIONS: Mus m I is widely distributed within mouse breeding facilities. Direct worker contact with mice seems to be the major factor in high level exposure.

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