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Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Maize food allergy: a double-blind placebo-controlled study

Authors


Correspondence:
Elide A. Pastorello, MD, Niguarda Ca' Granda Hospital, S.C. Allergologia e Immunologia Clinica, A.O. Niguarda Cà Granda Hospital, Milan, Italy, Piazza Ospedale Maggiore 3, 20162 Milan.
E-mail: allergologia@ospedaleniguarda.it

Summary

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 leqslant R: less-than-or-eq, slant2.5 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.

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