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Microarray and allergenic activity assessment of milk allergens


R. Valenta, Christian Doppler Laboratory for Allergy Research, Division of Immunopathology, Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, 3Q, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria.


Background Cow's milk is one of the most common causes of food allergy affecting approximately 2.5% of infants in the first years of their life. However, only limited information regarding the allergenic activity of individual cow's milk allergens is available.

Objective To analyse the frequency of IgE reactivity and to determine the allergenic activity of individual cow's milk allergens.

Methods A nitrocellulose-based microarray, based on purified natural and recombinant cow's milk allergens was used to determine IgE reactivity profiles using sera from 78 cow's milk-sensitized individuals of varying ages. The allergenic activity of the individual allergens was tested using patients' sera for loading rat basophil leukaemia cells (RBL) expressing the α-chain of the human receptor FcɛRI.

Results Using the microarray and the RBL assay, cow's milk allergens were assessed for frequency of IgE recognition and allergenic activity. Moreover, the RBL assay allowed distinguishing individuals without or with mild clinical reactions from those with severe systemic or gastrointestinal symptoms as well as persons who grew out cow's milk allergy from those who did not.

Conclusions Component-resolved testing using milk allergen microarrays and RBL assays seems to provide useful additional diagnostic information and may represent a basis for future forms of prophylactic and therapeutic strategies for cow's milk allergy.

Cite this as: H. Hochwallner, U. Schulmeister, I. Swoboda, N. Balic, B. Geller, M. Nystrand, A. Härlin, J. Thalhamer, S. Scheiblhofer, B. Niggemann, S. Quirce, C. Ebner, A. Mari, G. Pauli, U. Herz, E.A.F. van Tol, R. Valenta and S. Spitzauer, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2010 (40) 1809–1818.