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The nature of melon allergy in ragweed-allergic subjects: A study of 1000 patients

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Previous studies suggest cross-reactivity between specific ragweed pollen and melon allergens. This study was designed to clarify the origin of the cross-reactivity between ragweed pollen and the gourd family. One thousand ragweed-allergic subjects were interviewed about the presence of oral allergy syndrome (OAS) induced by melon or watermelon and were divided into reactive to ≤3 seasonal allergen sources or >3 seasonal allergen sources. Patients reporting melon and/or watermelon allergy underwent a skin-prick test (SPT) with fresh melon and, after 2006, also with profilin-enriched date palm pollen extract. Because no IgE reactivity to melon extract was detected in vitro, ELISA was performed using date palm pollen extract, and inhibition experiments were performed using grass pollen, date palm profilin, and bovine serum albumin (BSA) as inhibitors. Six hundred forty-six and 354 subjects reacted to ≤3 seasonal allergens or >3 seasonal allergens, respectively; 4/646 (1%) and 81/354 (23%) reported a history of melon/watermelon-induced OAS (p < 0.0001). Forty-three of 46 (93%) melon reactors scored positive on SPT with the profilin-enriched extract, which was positive in 0/2 (0%) versus 43/44 (98%) reactive to ≤3 or >3 seasonal allergen sources, respectively (p < 0.0001). in vitro, serum from melon-allergic subjects showed a strong IgE reactivity to the profilin-enriched date palm pollen extract, which was abolished by preabsorption with both grass pollen extract and date palm pollen extract, but not by BSA. In ragweed pollen‐allergic subjects, melon allergy is most likely associated with cross-sensitization to the plant pan-allergen profilin and not to specific ragweed pollen allergens. This study confirms the association between profilin sensitization and melon allergy.
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Keywords: Cross-reactivity; food allergy; melon; profilin

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ambulatorio di Allergologia, Clinica San Carlo, Paderno Dugnano (MI), Italy,

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • 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 and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    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.

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    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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