allergenic proteins in complex food matrices (Shefcheck and Musser, 2004). These approaches may be useful either as confirmatory tests or for characterization of foods containing several allergens.
Crustacean Shellfish. Allergenic cross-reactivity among crustaceans is considered to be common. Sicherer (2001) estimated that there is a 75% probability that a shrimp-allergic individual will also react to at least one other crustacean. Waring et al. (1985) reported that 11 of 12 (92%) patients with skin prick reactions to shrimp also had positive skin prick reactions to at least one other crustacean. Similarly, Daul et al. (1987) showed that between 73 and 82% of shrimp allergic patients had positive skin prick tests to another crustacean. Chiou et al. (2003) showed that sera from 20 of 32 individuals with either shrimp- or crab-reactive IgE were reactive to both species. Further, inhibition studies with 15 of these cross-reactive sera showed relatively high affinity for both allergens. The basis for this high rate of cross-reactivity appears to be sensitivity to the highly conserved protein tropomyosin, which is considered to be a panallergen (Daul et al., 1993; Leung et al., 1999; Sicherer, 2001).
Fish. Allergenic cross-reactivity among fish species has been described in the clinical literature, but appears to be less common than among species of crustacea. Both Sicherer (2001) and Sampson (1999) estimate that there is a 50% probability that an individual allergic to one fish species will react to at least one other fish species. Helbling et al. (1999) reported that 4 of 14 (29%) fish allergic patients reacted to two or more species in DBPCFC tests. Bernhisel-Broadbent et al. (1992a) reported that 3 of 10 (30%) fish allergic patients responded to more than one fish species in oral challenges, but that skin prick tests were positive to multiple species for all of these patients. Similarly, Hansen et al. (1997) showed that eight cod allergic patients all had positive skin prick tests with two other fish species. The data presented in Pascual et al. (1992) suggest that at least 80% of a group of 79 fish allergic children had IgE antibodies to two or more fish species. In some cases, cross-reactivity has been shown to reflect the presence of one of more closely related allergenic proteins (e.g., paralbumins) in different species (Pascual, 1992; Hansen et al., 1997; Leung et al., 1999; Hamada et al., 2003).
Tree Nuts. The prevalence of cross-reactivity among tree nuts is difficult to determine accurately for several reasons: the high proportion of severe reactions among nut-allergic patients makes it dangerous to carry out oral challenge studies, many published works test for reactivity to a small number (and variable assortment) of tree nuts, and studies often combine tests for tree nuts and peanuts. Nevertheless, Sicherer (2001) estimates that a tree nut allergic patient has a 37% chance of being allergic to two or more species of tree nut, and Sampson (1999) estimates that the probability of multiple tree nut sensitivities at greater than 50%. Ewan (1996) reported that 12 of 22 (55%) of tree nut allergic patients responded to multiple tree nuts by skin prick tests. Sicherer et al. (1998) and Pumphrey et al. (1999) both used in vitro IgE testing and found multiple sensitivities in 37% and 61% of tree nut allergic patients, respectively. There are a number of studies that report cross-reactions in one or a few patients (e.g., Teuber and Peterson, 1999; Ibanez et al., 2003; de Leon et al., 2003; Asero et al., 2004). The complex pattern of cross-reactivity among the tree nuts may reflect the fact that several different
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