To cite this article: Hochwallner H, Schulmeister U, Swoboda I, Twaroch TE, Vogelsang H, Kazemi-Shirazi L, Kundi M, Balic N, Quirce S, Rumpold H, Fröschl R, Horak F, Tichatschek B, Stéfanescu CL, Szépfalusi Z, Papadopoulos NG, Mari A, Ebner C, Pauli G, Valenta R, Spitzauer S. Patients suffering from non-IgE-mediated cow’s milk protein intolerance cannot be diagnosed based on IgG subclass or IgA responses to milk allergens. Allergy 2011; 66: 1201–1207.
Background: Cow’s milk is one of the most common causes of food allergy. In two-thirds of patients, adverse symptoms following milk ingestion are caused by IgE-mediated allergic reactions, whereas for one-third, the mechanisms are unknown. Aim of this study was to investigate whether patients suffering from non-IgE-mediated cow’s milk protein intolerance can be distinguished from persons without cow’s milk protein intolerance based on serological measurement of IgG and IgA specific for purified cow’s milk antigens.
Methods: We determined IgG1–4 subclass and IgA antibody levels to purified recombinant αS1-casein, αS2-casein, β-casein, κ-casein, α-lactalbumin, and β-lactoglobulin in four patient groups by ELISA: Patients with IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy (CMA, n = 25), patients with non-IgE-mediated cow’s milk protein intolerance (CMPI, n = 19), patients with gastrointestinal symptoms not associated with cow’s milk ingestion (GI, n = 15) and control persons without gastrointestinal problems (C, n = 26). Cow’s milk-specific IgE levels were determined by ImmunoCAP.
Results: Only CMA patients had IgE antibodies to cow’s milk. Cow’s milk allergic patients mounted the highest IgG1 and IgG4 antibody levels to αS1-casein, αS2-casein, β-casein, κ-casein, and α-lactalbumin. No elevated levels of IgG4, IgA, and complement-binding IgG subclasses (IgG1, IgG2, IgG3) to purified cow’s milk allergens were found within the CMPI patients compared to persons without cow’s milk protein intolerance (GI and C groups).
Conclusion: Cow’s milk protein intolerant patients cannot be distinguished from persons without cow’s milk protein intolerance on the basis of IgG subclass or IgA reactivity to cow’s milk allergens.