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Vol. 131, No. 1, 2003
Issue release date: May 2003

Oral Allergy Syndrome to Chicory Associated with Birch Pollen Allergy

Cadot P. · Kochuyt A.-M. · van Ree R. · Ceuppens J.L.
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Background: A few cases of IgE-mediated chicory allergy with oral, cutaneous, and/or respiratory symptoms are reported. We present 4 patients with inhalant birch pollen allergy and oral allergy syndrome to chicory. IgE-binding proteins in chicory and cross-reactivity with birch pollen were studied. Methods: Chicory extract was prepared and immunoblotting was used to study IgE reactivity and cross-reactions with birch pollen. Results: The pattern of IgE binding to chicory was variable among the patients, with protein bands recognized at 18, 21, 40, 52 and 71 kD. Bet v 1-like proteins were detected in chicory by monoclonal antibody binding. Chicory-birch pollen cross-reactivity, as studied in 2 patients from whom enough serum was available, could be demonstrated but did not involve the Bet v 1 protein family. In one of these cases, a 51-kD protein of birch pollen was found to be responsible for cross-reactivity. Conclusions: Chicory should be added to the list of foods that can cross-react with birch pollen and cause the birch pollen-associated oral allergy syndrome.

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