Use of standardized and conventional allergen extracts in prick skin testing

B. J. Lavins, William K. Dolen, Harold S. Nelson, Richard W. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study examined whether commercially available conventional and standardized allergen extracts differ enough in potency to affect routine prick skin test results. Extracts of white oak, timothy, Bermuda, Russian thistle, short ragweed, sagebrush, Altemaria, and cat dander were examined in allergic patients and in nonatopic subjects with no personal or family history of asthma, rhinitis, or eczema. Conventional nonstandardized extracts (1:10 or 1:20 wt/vol) from two sources were compared with three concentrations (100,000, 10,000, and 1000 AU/ml) of a single standardized extract. Preparations were compared in the allergic patients with computerized planimetry, and in all patients and subjects with a conventional skin test grading system. Skin test area for the conventional extracts generally fell between the 10,000 and 100,000 AU/ml concentrations of the standardized extract. Skin test reactivity to at least one allergen extract occurred in 31% of the nonatopic subjects; there was no difference between the number of 3+ and 4+ reactions for conventional and standardized extracts. Results indicate that standardized and conventional extracts are frequently similar, but are not directly interchangeable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-666
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1992


  • Allergen extracts
  • atopy
  • skin testing
  • standardization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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