Background Type I allergy represents a severe health problem in industrialized countries where up to 20% of the population suffer froin allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and allergic asthma bronchiale and in severe cases from anaphylaxis. leading to death.
Objective The aim of this study was to evaluate recombinant Bet v I, the major birch pollen allergen for in vivo and in vitro diagnosis of birch pollen allergy.
Methods A group of 51 birch pollen allergic patients and eight non-allergic control individuals were tested for birch pollen allergy by skin-prick and intradennal testing, comparing commercial birch pollen extracts with recombinant Bet v I. Quantitative and qualitative serological testing was done with natural and recombinant allergens by radioallergosorbent test (RAST), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunoblotting.
Results Recombinant Bet v I allowed accurate in vivo and in vitro diagnosis of tree pollen allergy in 49/51 patients tested. No false positive results were obtained in any in vitro assay system (ELISA. Westernblot) or by skin testing (skin-prick, intradermal test) with recombinant Bet v I.
Conclusion Our results document that recombinant Bet v I produced in bacterial expression systems allows accurate in vitro and in vivo diagnosis of birch pollen allergy in > 95% of birch pollen allergic patients.