Background Artemisia vulgaris is a widespread weed in the Mediterranean area and several allergens have been detected in its pollen. One of them, Art v 3, belongs to the lipid-transfer protein (LTP) family and its prevalence in Artemisia-sensitized patients or its relationship with other LTP allergens is not clear.
Objective To assess the pattern of sensitization to an array of mugwort allergens in a Mediterranean population, and to study the cross-reactivity of Art v 3 with Pru p 3 and Par j 1, relevant LTP allergens in the area.
Methods Skin prick test was performed with whole extracts (A. vulgaris, Parietaria judaica and peach) and pure natural allergens Art v 1, Art v 3, Art v 60 kDa and Par j 1 in 24 mugwort-allergic patients from a Mediterranean area. In vitro assays included measurement of specific IgE and ELISA inhibition among LTP allergens.
Results The three Artemisia allergens elicited a positive skin response in 70–80% of the patients. Seven patients were clearly sensitized to Par j 1 and 11 to Pru p 3. There was no correlation between Par j 1 and Pru p 3 sensitization, but a highly significant correlation was found between peach extract and Art v 3 as regards the skin response. No IgE cross-reactivity was observed between Art v 3/Par j 1 or Pru p 3/Par j 1. In contrast, Art v 3 significantly inhibited the binding to Pru p 3 of IgE from three patients' sera out of six studied, but Pru p 3 was not able to inhibit the IgE binding to Art v 3.
Conclusion Art v 3 is a major mugwort allergen and in some patients with IgE to both Art v 3 and Pru p 3, Art v 3 behaves as the primary sensitizing agent.