• urticaria;
  • angioedema;
  • atopy;
  • food;
  • additive intolerance

A total of 120 placebo-negative children with intermittent or recurrent urticaria-angiodema (U-A) were orally challenged with 7 food-additives (F-A): tartrazine (E102), sunset yellow (E110), erythrosine (E127), annatto (E160b), sodium benzoate (E211), acetyl-salicylic acid (ASA) and aspartame. The results of the challenges were correlated with familial and personal history of atopic diseases, the presence of inhalantand food-specific IgE (evaluated by skin testing and RAST), total IgE levels, values of circulating eosinophils, physical urticaria, C3, C4 and Cl-inhibitor levels, the presence of circulating immune complexes, and of Candida albicans, parasite, hepatitis B virus and Epstein-Barr virus infection. Fifty-six (46. 4%) children had one or more positive challenge (s). Among them the following frequencies of positive challenges were recorded: E110 = 64. 2%, E160b = 60. 7%, E211: 57. 1%; E102 = 50.0%, aspartame = 48. 2%, E127 = 35. 7%, ASA = 12. 5%. Positive challenges correlated with none of the variables considered. In particular, positive challenges were clearly unrelated to an atopic condition. It is suggested that: a) F-A intolerance is frequent in children with recurrent or intermittent U-A; b) aspartame may be a causative agent of U-A in childhood; c) F-A intolerance is unrelated to other causes of U-A in children.