Age-dependent sensitization to the 7S-vicilin-like protein Cor a 11 from hazelnut (Corylus avellana) in a birch-endemic region

M M Verweij, M M Hagendorens, S Trashin, T Cucu, B De Meulenaer, B Devreese, C H Bridts, L S De Clerck, D G Ebo
Journal of Investigational Allergology & Clinical Immunology 2012, 22 (4): 245-51

BACKGROUND: Hazelnut (Corylus avellana) allergy exhibits age and geographically distinct sensitization patterns that have not yet been fully resolved.

OBJECTIVE: To study sensitization to Cor a 11 in different age groups of hazelnut-allergic patients and infants with atopic dermatitis (AD) sensitized to hazelnut in a birch-endemic region.

METHODS: Sera from 80 hazelnut-allergic patients, 33 infants under 1 year of age with AD (24 sensitized and 9 not sensitized to hazelnut), 32 healthy control individuals, and 29 birch pollen-allergic but hazelnut-tolerant individuals were tested for immunoglobulin (Ig) E reactivity to Cor a 11 by ImmunoCAP. IgE reactivity to Cor a 1.01, Cor a 1.04, Cor a 8, and Cor a 9 was studied by ISAC microarray.

RESULTS: Forty patients (22 preschool children, 10 schoolchildren, and 8 adults) with systemic reactions on consumption of hazelnut were sensitized to Cor a 11 (respective rates of 36%, 40%, and 12.5%). Forty patients (6 preschool children, 10 schoolchildren, and 24 adults) reported oral allergy syndrome but only 2 of them (of preschool age) were sensitized to Cor a 11. Two (8%) of the AD infants sensitized to hazelnut showed IgE reactivity to Cor a 11. This reactivity was not observed in any of the AD infants without sensitization to hazelnut, in any of the birch-pollen allergic patients without hazelnut allergy, or in any of the healthy control individuals.

CONCLUSION: Sensitization to Cor a 11 in a birch-endemic region is predominantly found in children with severe hazelnut allergy, a finding that is consistent with observations concerning sensitization to Cor a 9.

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