Identification of sole parvalbumin as a major allergen: study of cross-reactivity between parvalbumins in a Spanish fish-allergic population


Marina Perez-Gordo, Department of Allergy, Hospital Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Avda. Reyes Católicos 2, 28040 Madrid, Spain. E-mail:


Background Fish allergy is becoming an important health problem in Spain, a country with the third highest level of fish consumption after Japan and Portugal. The most common fish allergens are parvalbumins. In our area, the most widely consumed fish species are lean, such as whiff (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis) and sole (Solea solea). Adverse reactions to fish are usually related to these species, a fact that is largely unknown to allergists in other countries.

Objective The aim of this study was to identify and purify the major allergen implicated in allergic response to sole and evaluate the IgE cross-reactivity of purified parvalbumins from whiff and sole, which are phylogenetically close, and more distant species (i.e. cod and salmon).

Methods Eighteen Spanish fish-allergic patients with a positive history of type I allergy to fish were recruited from the clinic. Total protein extracts and purified parvalbumins from whiff and sole were tested for their IgE-binding properties by combining two-dimensional Western blotting and mass spectrometry. The extent of cross-reactivity between these parvalbumins along with cod and salmon parvalbumins was investigated by IgE ELISA inhibition assay.

Results An IgE-binding spot of approximately 14 kDa was identified as parvalbumin and confirmed as a major allergen in sole extract, which is recognized by almost 70% of the patients. Whiff parvalbumin was recognized by 83.4% of the patients. High cross-reactivity was determined for all purified parvalbumins by IgE inhibition assay.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance Sole and whiff parvalbumin were confirmed as major allergens. The parvalbumins of sole, whiff, cod and salmon were highly cross-reactive, thus suggesting a high amino acid sequence identity between them.

Cite this as: M. Perez-Gordo, J. Cuesta- Herranz, A. S. Maroto, B. Cases, M. D. Ibáñez, F. Vivanco and C. Pastor-Vargas, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2011 (41) 750–758.