Bovine serum albumin is a powerful immunogen able to produce allergic reactions. It is used during bone marrow transplantation and in vitro fertilization.
Serum sickness: 1% to 15% (in 32 patients with in vitro fertilization).
Serum sickness (maculopapular eruption, arthralgias, fever, 8 to 12 days after procedure).
Skin prick-tests: positive with BSA in 1% distilled water.
Intradermal skin tests with BSA 0.1 and 1 mg/ ml are positive in immediate and late responses, and positive to fetal calf serum (containing bovine serum albumin).
Specific IgE: IgE anti BSA (ELISA / RAST).
Specific IgG (ELISA) in serum sickness-like reactions.
IgE-mediated hypersensitivity: positive skin tests and specific IgE against BSA. Sensitization to BSA may develop following natural contact (eating meat, drinking cow’s milk, exposure to animal epithelia, dander or saliva containing serum albumin cross-reactive with BSA)
Serum sickness-like reactions: IgG 1 mediated sensitization to BSA
Preoperative skin prick tests or RAST with the insemination medium is recommended.
Concerning bone marrow infusion, autologous plasma or serum is now used instead of BSA.