Background: Type 1 hypersensitivity to natural rubber latex proteins is a well-recognized health problem. Recent data have shown that allergens can be extracted from natural latex mattresses. As Hev b 1 (rubber elongation factor) and Hev b 6.02 (hevein) were described as major allergens, the present work was carried out to evaluate their presence in latex mattresses as well as in latex gloves. Methods: Extracted proteins from latex mattresses and gloves were separated by SDS-PAGE or two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, transferred onto nitrocellulose and detected with monoclonal antibodies specific for Hev b 1 and Hev b 6.02. Results: The results showed that various forms of Hev b 1, as well as degradation products of Hev b 1 were detected in latex mattresses and gloves, whereas Hev b 6.02 was not detected either in mattresses or in gloves. In a standardized latex extract, Hev b 1 and Hev b 6.01 (prohevein) were identified by the monoclonal antibodies. Conclusion: The fact that only Hev b 1 was detected by immunoblot in latex articles indicates that Hev b 1 may be the last protein to be washed out of latex products and that the Hev b 1 content may be used as a criterion for the estimation of the allergenicity of the latex products.

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