Background Der p 2 is a highly polymorphic allergen that shows a distinct pattern of sequence divergence. The effect of the variations on T cell and antibody responses has not been compared.Objectives To compare IgE antibody binding and T cell proliferation and cytokine release induced by variants of Der p 2.Methods Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 19 allergic and 15 non-allergic people were stimulated with recombinant variants of Der p 2. IL-5, IL-10, IL-13 and IFN-gamma were measured by a time resolved fluorescence (TRF) assay. Serum IgE antibody was measured using a solid-phase TRF assay.Results Overall the most prevalent variant of Der p 2 (Der p 2. 0101) was the highest or approximately equal highest inducer of T cell proliferation and IL-5, IL-10, IL-13 and IFN-gamma release. The most divergent variant 0104 induced the next highest responses. The variants 0107 and 0108 showed interesting changes especially when the allergic status was considered. Responses to 0107 showed poor Th1/Th2 polarization and, except for IL-10 release, cytokine responses to 0108 were low for non-allergic subjects. The variant 0101 showed similar monoclonal antibody binding but moderately less IgE binding than the other variants.Conclusions The most prevalent variant, Der p 2. 0101, was the most active for T cell stimulation and although its IgE binding was slightly less than other variants that was highly correlated. The variant Der p 2. 0104 which contains the known common polymorphic changes had a response which was similar to Der p 2. 0101 and thus these two variants were the most stimulatory respresentations of Der p 2. The T cell responses to the less common variants 0107 and 0108 however, showed consistent differences demonstrating that changes in the sequence could change the cytokine response.