Background Maize allergy is not very common especially in Europe. The number of studies that address IgE mediated maize allergy is all too few.
Objective Evaluate subjects with a history of maize allergy by double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge; identify the spectrum of symptoms manifested during challenge; determine the lowest provocation dose (PD) during challenge; determine the performance characteristics of maize skin prick test and specific IgE.
Methods Twenty-seven patients with a history of maize allergy were enrolled to be evaluated by skin test, specific IgE and double-blind placebo-controlled maize challenge.
Results Forty-eight percent of the patients were challenge positive. PD range was 0.1–25 g. Fifty-four percent of the maize allergic subjects had a PD that was 2.5 g; two subjects reacted to 100 mg of maize. Comparison of maize specific IgE levels and skin test results to the challenge results revealed the following (specific IgE level/skin testing): sensitivity 1.00/0.846, specificity 0.077/0.384, positive predictive value 0.520/0.579, and negative predictive value 1.00/0.714.
Conclusion Maize is a cause of IgE-mediated allergic reactions to foods in adults and children. Nearly half of the subjects recruited were confirmed by challenge to be allergic to maize. Twenty-three percent of the positive challenge patients manifested symptoms that involved two organ systems, thus fulfilling the criteria for maize induced anaphylaxis. Maize is allergenic and can pose a risk for symptomatic food allergy at a dose of 100 mg.