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Original  Article


Aerobiological Investigation and In Vitro Studies of Pollen Grains From 2 Dominant Avenue Trees in Kolkata, India


J Mandal,1 I Roy,2 S Chatterjee,2 S Gupta-Bhattacharya1

1Division of Palynology and Environmental Biology, Department of Botany, Bose Institute, Kolkata, India
2Allergy Department, Institute of Child Health, Kolkata, India

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2008; Vol. 18(1): 22-30



Background: Peltophorum pterocarpum and Delonix regia are dominant avenue trees in the city of Kolkata in India. They are well adapted to the humid tropical climate and also grow commonly in different parts of the country. Their pollen grains are reported to be airborne.

Objective: The aim of this study was to conduct an aerobiological survey in Kolkata to determine the concentration and seasonal periodicity of pollen grains from P pterocarpum and D regia and to analyze the meteorological factors responsible for their levels in the atmosphere. In addition, we analyzed the prevalence of sensitization due to these grains among patients with seasonal respiratory allergy.

Methods: An aerobiological survey was conducted with a volumetric Burkard sampler from 2004 to 2006. Correlations between meteorological parameters and pollen grain concentrations were assessed by Spearman correlation test. The protein profi le of the pollen extracts was studied by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Finally, the allergenic potential of the pollen extracts was evaluated in patients with respiratory allergy by skin prick test, immunoglobulin (Ig) E enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and IgE immunoblotting.

Results: P pterocarpum and D regia pollen grains occur from March to June and April to July, respectively. The pollen concentrations showed statistically signifi cant positive correlations with maximum temperature and wind speed. Positive reactions to P pterocarpum and D regia were observed in 26% and 22% of the patients, respectively. Many protein bands were detected in the pollen extracts over a wide molecular
weight range. A total of 5 (P pterocarpum pollen) and 8 (D regia pollen) protein fractions were detected by IgE immunoblotting.

Conclusion: P pterocarpum and D regia pollen grains are dominant in the atmosphere of south Kolkata and they are infl uenced by temperature. The pollen grains release proteins that may be responsible for immediate hypersensitivity reactions in sensitive patients.

Key words: Aerobiology. Meteorological parameters. Pollen grains. Respiratory allergy. Skin prick test.