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Vol. 157, No. 2, 2012
Issue release date: February 2012
Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2012;157:176–185

Minor Interference of Cross-Reactive Carbohydrates with the Diagnosis of Respiratory Allergy in Standard Clinical Conditions

Vidal C. · Sanmartín C. · Armisén M. · Rodríguez V. · Linneberg A. · Gonzalez-Quintela A.
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Background: Immunoglobulin E (IgE) to N-glycans from plant and invertebrate glycoproteins induces extensive in vitro cross-reactivity. This study investigates the prevalence and diagnostic relevance of IgE to these N-glycans [cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants (CCDs)] in patients with suspicion of respiratory allergy. Methods: A total of 1,025 adult subjects with symptoms of rhinitis and/or asthma from a reference allergy clinic were studied. Determinations included a structured questionnaire, skin prick tests (SPT), total IgE, a multiallergen IgE test and specific IgE (sIgE) to bromelain, MUXF (the bromelain-type N-glycan) and honeybee phospholipase-A2. Inhibition studies with CCDs were performed in selected cases. Results: The prevalence of CCD sensitization (MUXF sIgE and/or bromelain-sIgE ≧0.1 kUA/l) was 18.0%. Male sex and atopy (SPT positivity) were associated with CCD sensitization. Sensitization was more frequent in patients sensitized to pollens than in those sensitized to mites, the most common inhalant allergens in the area. A history of Hymenoptera stings was associated with CCD sensitization and multiallergen IgE test positivity. CCD sensitization was not significantly associated with age, rural residence, alcohol consumption or smoking. Only 58 patients (5.6%) showed CCD-sIgE levels ≧0.35 kUA/l. CCD-induced inhibition of pollen-sIgE or mite-sIgE in patients with respective positive SPT was minimal or absent in most cases. Conclusions: In this population of predominantly mite-allergic patients, CCD sensitization is relatively rare and CCD-sIgE levels are low. Thus, CCDs do not represent a major obstacle for the diagnosis of respiratory allergy in a specialized setting. Hymenoptera stings are associated with CCD sensitization.

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