During the past decade an increasing number of recombinant allergens have become available, representing a significant proportion of the epitope complexity of natural allergen extracts. Component-resolved diagnosis with recombinant allergens reveals the antibody reactivity profile of allergic patients and identifies the disease-eliciting allergen molecules. This article exemplifies how recombinant allergen molecules with high cross-reactive potential can be used as marker allergens to identify allergic patients who are cross-sensitized to a variety of allergen sources. It further demonstrates how the use of allergens with a restricted distribution in a certain group of allergen sources may allow the identification of patients who have been genuinely sensitized by a particular allergen molecule. Drawing from those examples, it is suggested how diagnostic tests based on such recombinant marker allergens may be used to improve the choice and monitoring of currently available forms of specific immunotherapy.
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