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Keywords:

  • bumblebee;
  • cross-reactivity;
  • honeybee;
  • IgE;
  • venom

To obtain more information on IgE cross-reactivity between bumblebee venom and honeybee venom, we tested sera from venom-sensitized patients for specific IgE against venoms from the European bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), the North American bumblebee (Megabombm pennsylvanicus), and the honeybee (Apis mellifera). RAST, RAST-inhibition, and immunoblotting experiments indicate that bumblebee venom and honeybee venom contain venom-specific IgE-binding epitopes. These results suggest that immunotherapy using honeybee venom may not be effective in all bumblebee venom-allergic patients. Our experiments also revealed differences in IgE binding for venom from European and American bumblebees.