Background Several lipid-transfer proteins (LTPs) have been identified as important food allergens, especially in fruits of the Rosaceae family. The major peach (Prunus persica) allergen has been identified, sequenced and designated Pru p 3.
Objective To present Pru p 3 as an aeroallergen able to induce occupational asthma.
Methods A thorough investigation was performed in a fruit grower with occupational asthma. Skin prick–prick tests with peach leaves and prick tests with perennial respiratory allergens and pollens, fruits and peach leaf extracts were done. Serum-specific IgE was tested for peach leaf, peach fruit, peach skin and respiratory allergens that were positive in skin prick tests. Specific bronchial provocation tests (BPTs) with extracts of peach leaf were also done. Before and 24 h after the BPT, BPTs with methacholine and sputum induction were done. The IgE reactivity pattern to peach leaf and fruit extracts and to Pru p 3 was identified by using SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting. Blotting inhibition of peach leaf extract by Pru p 3 was also performed. The putative allergen was quantified in leaf and fruit skin extracts with ELISA based on an anti-Pru p 3 antibody.
Results Skin tests were positive for peach leaf and fruit. The BPT was positive, with immediate and delayed response. This test induced a decrease in PD20 (dose of agonist that induces a 20% fall in FEV1) methacholine and an increase in eosinophils and eosinophil cationic protein in sputum. Peach leaf extract contained concentrations of Pru p 3 similar to those found in peach skin. Specific IgE immunodetection showed that patient's sera reacted with Pru p 3, and with a single major band from the peach leaf extract fully inhibited by Pru p 3.
Conclusion Pru p 3 from peach leaves can act as a respiratory allergen and cause occupational rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma.