Background: Perennial Ryegrass is a major cause of rhinitis in spring and early summer. Bahia grass, Paspalum notatum, flowers late into summer and could account for allergic rhinitis at this time. We determined the frequency of serum immunoglobulin (Ig)E reactivity with Bahia grass in Ryegrass pollen allergic patients and investigated IgE cross-reactivity between Bahia and Ryegrass.
Methods: Serum from 33 Ryegrass pollen allergic patients and 12 nonatopic donors were tested for IgE reactivity with Bahia and Ryegrass pollen extracts (PE) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), western blotting and inhibition ELISA. Allergen-specific antibodies from a pool of sera from allergic donors were affinity purified and tested for IgE cross-reactivity.
Results: Seventy-eight per cent of the sera had IgE reactivity with Bahia grass, but more weakly than with Ryegrass. Antibodies eluted from the major Ryegrass pollen allergens, Lol p 1 and Lol p 5, showed IgE reactivity with allergens of Ryegrass and Canary but not Bahia or Bermuda grasses. Timothy, Canary and Ryegrass inhibited IgE reactivity with Ryegrass and Bahia grass, whereas Bahia, Johnson and Bermuda grass did not inhibit IgE reactivity with Ryegrass.
Conclusions: The majority of Ryegrass allergic patients also showed serum IgE reactivity with Bahia grass PE. However, Bahia grass and Ryegrass had only limited IgE cross-reactivity indicating that Bahia grass should be considered in diagnosis and treatment of patients with hay fever late in the grass pollen season.