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Identification of low allergenic apple cultivars using skin prick tests and oral food challenges


  • Edited by: Antonella Muraro

B. J. Vlieg-Boerstra, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, Dept. of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine and Allergy, Meibergdreef 9, 1105AZ Amsterdam.
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To cite this article: Vlieg-Boerstra BJ, van de Weg WE, van der Heide S, Kerkhof M, Arens P, Heijerman-Peppelman G, Dubois AEJ. Identification of low allergenic apple cultivars using skin prick tests and oral food challenges. Allergy 2011; 66: 491–498.


Background:  As oral allergy syndrome (OAS) symptoms to apple are frequent, we aimed to identify low allergenic apple cultivars and to validate the prick-to-prick skin prick test (SPT) as a suitable screening method.

Methods:  Sixty-eight apple cultivars were tested by SPTs in 33 Dutch adults with OAS, before and during the birch pollen season in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Three cultivars yielding the largest number of negative SPTs (Elise, Santana and Pink Lady®) and one reference cultivar (Golden Delicious) were subsequently tested by single-blind oral food challenges (SBFC) just after picking in fall 2007 (fresh) and in spring 2008 (stored), outside the birch pollen season and preceded by SPTs. In spring, Santana was replaced by Modi®.

Results:  In fresh apples, OAS symptoms of Elise, as measured by cumulative scores on a Visual Analogue Scale VASt, were significantly lower than those of Santana, Pink Lady and Golden Delicious (P = 0.021; 0.040 and 0.005, respectively). VASt scores of Santana were significantly lower than those of Golden Delicious (P = 0.049). In stored apples, VASt scores of Elise were significantly lower than that of Golden Delicious (P = 0.038). VASt scores of fresh apples did not differ significantly from stored apples, except in Golden Delicious (spring < fall: P = 0.021). The SPTs did not predict the severity of OAS.

Conclusion:  SPTs are not useful to assess the allergenicity of apple cultivars. By using SBFC, Elise and Santana were identified as low allergenic apple cultivars in patient with OAS. Our data on the effect of storage are inconclusive.