Allergy to Periwinkle pollen (Catharanthus roseus G. Don.)
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Department of Botany, Bose Institute, Calcutta, India
Allergy Department, Institute of Child Health, Calcutta, India
Centre for Study of Man and Environment, Calcutta, India
Corresponding author
Swati Gupta-Bhattacharya   

Department of Botany, Bose Institute, 93/1 Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road, Calcutta – 700 009, India.
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2007;14(1):39-43
Catharanthus roseus G. Don. (CR) or periwinkle plants are widely grown/ cultivated as garden plants in the tropics and subtropics. In spite of its predominantly entomophilous nature, CR pollen had been reported to be airborne and allergenic. The objective of this study was to discover the seasonal changes of CR pollen concentration in air, to determine its potential to cause respiratory allergy and to analyze its allergenic components. A 2-year aerobiological survey was conducted with a Burkard 7-day sampler in an agricultural farm in the suburban zone of Calcutta city where CR pollen was found to be almost perennial with 3.6-5.4% contribution to the aeropollen load. Skin prick test was conducted on 282 respiratory allergic individuals living within a 15 km radius of the study area. 29.8% of them were positive to CR pollen. Among them, 80.9% were directly involved in gardening. The whole pollen extract was subjected to gel fi ltration in a Sephacryl S-200 column. Among 5 eluted fractions, fraction I showed optimum IgE-reactivity in ELISA-inhibition. The fraction I shows 4 protein components in SDS-PAGE, within which 3 (40-66 kD molecular mass) were found to be IgE-reactive in immunoblotting using patient sera. It can be concluded that CR pollen can trigger IgEmediated respiratory allergy in the people living in close proximity
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