Background: Hazelnuts are a common cause of food allergic reactions. Most hazelnut allergic individuals in central and northern Europe are sensitized to Cor a 1, a member of the PR-10 protein family, while the lipid transfer protein Cor a 8 acts as a major allergen in the south of Europe. Other allergens, including profilin and seed storage proteins, may be important in subgroups of patients. Reliable detection of specific IgE in the clinical diagnosis of food allergy requires allergen reagents with a sufficient representation of all relevant allergen components. Some reported observations suggest that natural hazelnut extract may not be fully adequate in this respect.
Methods: The capacity of immobilized natural hazelnut extract to bind Cor a 1-, Cor a 2- and Cor a 8-specific IgE and IgG antibodies was investigated by serum adsorption and extract dilution experiments and by the use of allergen specific rabbit antisera. All measurements were performed with the ImmunoCAP assay platform.
Results: The experimental results revealed an incomplete capacity of immobilized hazelnut extract to capture IgE antibodies directed to the major allergen Cor a 1. Spiking of hazelnut extract with recombinant Cor a 1.04 prior to solid phase coupling gave rise to significantly enhanced IgE antibody binding from Cor a 1 reactive sera. The spiking did not negatively affect the measurement of IgE to extract components other than Cor a 1.
Conclusion: A hazelnut allergen reagent with enhanced IgE detection capacity can be generated by supplementing the natural food extract with recombinant Cor a 1.04.