Anaphylactic reaction to young garlic


Dr Antonio Pérez Pimiento, Servicio de Alergia
Clínica Puerta de Hierro
San Martín de Porres, 4
28035 Madrid


Background: Garlic is well known to cause contact dermatitis and asthma. However, it is a very rare cause of food allergy. We present the case of a 23-year-old woman with previous history of allergy to pollen and dried fruit, and food-dependent, exercise-induced anaphylaxis for which no specific food could be identified as responsible, who experienced an anaphylactic reaction after eating young garlic.

Methods: Skin prick tests and specific IgE immunoassay with several pollens and foods were performed, as well as the prick-prick test with young garlic and SDS–PAGE followed by immunoblotting IgE to young garlic and other Liliaceae species, mustard, sesame, parsley, celery, hazelnut, almond, and pollen of birch and mugwort.

Results: Skin prick tests and specific IgE were mainly positive for grass, plane tree, and mugwort pollen; peanut; hazelnut; walnut; almond; and mustard. Prick-prick tests with young garlic and garlic were positive. Total IgE was 113 U/ml. SDS–PAGE immunoblotting showed IgE-binding bands at 12 kDa to young garlic, garlic, onion, and leek extracts. Similar bands could also be detected with mugwort pollen and hazelnut extract.

Conclusions: We describe IgE-mediated reaction to young garlic in a patient sensitized to pollen and dried fruit.