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Sensitization profiles in birch pollen-allergic patients with and without oral allergy syndrome to apple: lessons from multiplexed component-resolved allergy diagnosis


Prof. Dr W. Stevens, Department of Immunology, Allergology, Rheumatology, University of Antwerp, Campus Drie Eiken T4, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Antwerpen, Belgium.


Background Component-resolved diagnosis (CRD) using microarray technology has recently been introduced into the field of clinical allergology.

Objective To further validate the use of CRD by microarray technology in allergy diagnosis.

Methods Thiry-seven patients allergic to birch pollen were included. The discriminative value of apple-specific IgE (sIgE), recombinant Mal d 1 (rMal d 1) sIgE, apple skin prick test and rMal d 1 on the microarray was assessed between patients with a birch-related oral allergy syndrome to apple (OAS+, n=20) and healthy control individuals (HC, n=8) without a history of inhalant allergies or apple-induced OAS. An additional comparative analysis was carried out with individuals allergic to birch pollen allergy without OAS (OAS; n=17).

Results rMal d 1 coupled to the microarray constitutes a discriminative marker between OAS+ and HC with a sensitivity 95% and a specificity of 100%. However, in parallel with the traditional sIgE assay, 15 out of 17 OAS individuals (88%) also displayed IgE reactivity to rMal d 1 coupled to the microarray. OAS individuals are more frequently sensitized to mite (about three to four times), cat and dog dander (about two to three times) and grass pollen (about 1.5 times) as compared with OAS+ patients.

Conclusion At first glance, CRD by microarray seems to be a reliable instrument in the diagnosis of apple-mediated OAS in birch pollen allergy. However, for discriminating between sensitization and a real allergy, micro-arrayed rMal d 1 offers no advantage over conventional quantification of rMal d 1 sIgE. Most interestingly, within a single run, birch pollen-allergic patients without OAS to apple were shown to display a broader sensitization to classical inhalant allergens than birch pollen-allergic patients with an apple-related OAS.

Cite this as: D. G. Ebo, C. H. Bridts, M. M. Verweij, K. J. De Knop, M. M. Hagendorens, L. S. De Clerck and W. J. Stevens, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2010 (40) 339– 347.