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Allergy to goat and sheep cheese with good tolerance to cow cheese


Sastre Servicio de Alergia, Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Av. Reyes Católicos 2, 28040 Madrid, Spain.



We report on a patient who experienced allergic reactions after eating goat cheese and after touching goat and sheep cheese, but not after consuming cow's milk dairy products.


To assess the allergenicity and IgE-binding capacity of the caseins from the three different species.


Skin prick tests were carried out using whole milk and caseins from three different species (goat, sheep and cow), and whey fractions of cow's milk. Total serum IgE and specific IgE to cow's milk proteins were measured by CAP system and specific IgE against caseins and whole milk were determined by ELISA technique. To evaluate allergenic cross-reactivity, inhibition of the IgE ELISA activity to goat's milk and goat casein was tested for the three caseins. SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting was used to determine IgE binding bands in caseins.


Skin tests were positive to sheep and goat's milk, sheep and goat casein, as well as to sheep and goat cheese. Total serum IgE was 66 kU/L and IgE determinations by CAP were negative. IgE ELISA against the caseins from goat and sheep was strongly positive, whereas it was negative to cow casein. ELISA inhibition assays revealed a high degree of cross-reactivity between goat casein and sheep casein. Immunoblotting showed three IgE-binding bands in goat casein at 31, 27 and 22 kDa, which may correspond to α-, β- and γ-caseins. A band at about 31 kDa was observed in sheep casein and another band at 34 kDa was recognized in cow casein.


This patient developed allergy to goat and sheep cheese with good tolerance to cow's milk. We identified goat casein as the main allergen causing sensitization in this patient as demonstrated by in vivo and in vitro tests. A high degree of cross-reactivity between goat and sheep casein was observed.