Extrinsic allergic alveolitis from a proteolytic enzyme

A. Tripathi*, L. C. Grammer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Subtilisins are proteolytic enzymes of bacterial origin found in detergents. They are high-molecular-weight antigens and have been implicated in allergic rhinitis and asthma. Objective: This report describes a case of extrinsic allergic alveolitis due to subtilisins in a liquid cleaner. Methods: Clinical, radiologic, and serologic information were used to make the diagnosis. Case Report: A 53-year-old woman developed respiratory symptoms while working with a cleaner containing subtilisins. Her symptoms intensified in the work environment and improved away from work. A computed tomography scan demonstrated alveolar and interstitial infiltrates with subsequent scarring. A pulmonary function study revealed a restrictive pattern with diminished diffusion capacity. Bronchoalveolar lavage showed lymphocytosis and all cultures were negative. Precipitating antibodies to the enzyme were found in the patient's serum. Her symptoms improved once she changed her occupation. Conclusions: The combination of the patient's clinical history, physical, laboratory, and radiologic findings support the diagnosis of extrinsic allergic alveolitis from the enzyme contained in the cleaner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-427
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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