Get access

Understanding patient sensitization profiles in complex pollen areas: a molecular epidemiological study


Domingo Barber, PhD
Departamento de I+D, ALK-Abelló
C/ Miguel Fleta, 19
Madrid E-28037


Background:  Allergy diagnosis in patients exposed to multiple pollen species is complex and misdiagnosis is often a cause for unsuccessful specific immunotherapy.

Objective:  We studied the sensitization profile of individual allergens (major, minor and pan-allergens) in pollen-sensitized patients in a region with high exposure to olive pollen by investigating the influence of minor allergens on allergic disease and the association between pan- and minor allergen sensitizations.

Methods:  A panel of 13 purified allergens, which included the most relevant allergens in the area, as well as minor olive allergens and pan-allergens, were screened using a high-capacity technology (ADVIA-Centaur®) in 891 patients.

Results:  Olive allergy as measured by specific IgE to Ole e 1 was the leading pollinosis in the area. The minor olive allergens Ole e 7 and Ole e 9 were markers of more severe allergic illness. Profilin sensitization was associated mainly with grass allergy, the second most prevalent pollinosis. Salsola kali pollen allergy was the third most common cause of pollinosis in the area. The prevalence of sensitization to the peach allergen Pru p 3, a nonspecific lipid-transfer protein, was notable.

Conclusion:  Epidemiological analysis by component-resolved diagnosis is a new method, which elucidates the interaction between allergen exposure gradient and patient sensitization. High exposure leads to differential sensitization profiles some of which are associated with more severe allergic conditions. Profilin sensitization, related mainly to grass pollinosis, was a marker of more severe grass pollen sensitization.