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The Red Wine Provocation Test: Intolerance to Histamine as a Model for Food Intolerance

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Sneezing, flush, headache, diarrhea, skin itch, and shortness of breath are symptoms occurring in patients intolerant to wine after drinking one glass of red wine. The role of histamine in wine intolerance was evaluated by a red wine provocation test in 28 patients with a history of wine intolerance and in 10 controls with good tolerance of wine. Patients were challenged with 125 ml red wine (equivalent to 50 g histamine); blood samples were drawn before and after 15 and 30 minutes. Plasma histamine was assessed by a radioimmunoassay. Lung function tests were performed before and after the wine test. Twenty-two of twenty-eight patients had symptoms showing significantly higher plasma histamine levels 30 minutes after wine challenge (p < .01) compared with asymptomatic controls. Basal histamine levels of patients were higher (p < .05) than in controls. A slight asthmatic attack as well as a 30% decrease of FEF 25 was seen in 2/22 patients. Terfenadine premedication significantly eliminated symptoms in 10/12 patients (p <.05) in a subsequent wine test. Histamine assessment was done in 52 wines (red, white, and champagne) and in 17 beers by radioimmunoassay. Histamine levels ranged from 3–120 g/l in white wines; 15–670 g/l in champagnes; 60–3800 g/l in red wines; and 21–305 g/l in beers. Histamine is causing wine intolerance. Patients intolerant to wine seem to have diminished histamine degradation probably based on a deficiency of diamine oxidase.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1994

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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