Allergy to bumblebee venom. II IgE cross-reactivity between bumblebee and honeybee venom


Dr S. O. Stapel CLB, Department of Allergy Plesmanlaan 125 1066 CX Amsterdam The Netherlands


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.