Alternaria as an inducer of allergic sensitization

Guadalupe Hernandez‐ramirez, Domingo Barber, Jaime Tome‐amat, Maria Garrido‐arandia, Araceli Diaz‐perales

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Alternaria alternata is a saprophytic mold whose spores are disseminated in warm dry air, the typical weather of the Mediterranean climate region (from 30° to 45°), with a peak during the late summer and early autumn. Alternaria spores are known to be biological contaminants and a potent source of aeroallergens. One consequence of human exposure to Alternaria is an increased risk of developing asthma, with Alt a 1 as its main elicitor and a marker of primary sensitization. Although the action mechanism needs further investigation, a key role of the epithelium in cytokine production, TLR‐activated alveolar macrophages and innate lymphoid cells in the adaptive response was demonstrated. Furthermore, sensitization to A. alternata seems to be a trigger for the development of co‐sensitization to other allergen sources and may act as an exacerbator of symptoms and an elicitor of food allergies. The prevalence of A. alternata allergy is increasing and has led to expanding research on the role of this fungal species in the induction of IgE‐mediated respiratory diseases. Indeed, recent research has allowed new perspectives to be considered in the assessment of exposure and diagnosis of fungi‐induced allergies, although more studies are needed for the standardization of immunotherapy formulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number838
JournalJournal of Fungi
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Alt a 1
  • Alternaria allergens
  • Alternaria alternata
  • Mold asthma


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