Allergenicity of mare's milk in children with cow's milk allergy.J Allergy Clin Immunol 2000; 105(5):1031-4JA
Cow's milk allergy is a common disease of infancy and early childhood. If the baby is not breast-fed, a substitute for cow's milk formula is necessary.
The aim of this study was to investigate, in vitro and in vivo, the allergenicity of mare's milk in a population of selected children with severe IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy.
Twenty-five children (17 male and 8 female) aged 19 to 72 months (median age 34 months) with IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy were selected for this study. All the children underwent skin prick tests with cow's milk and mare's milk and double-blind placebo-controlled oral food challenge (DBPCOFC) with fresh cow's milk, fresh mare's milk, and, as placebo, a soy formula (Isomil, Abbott, Campoverde, Italy). We performed immunoblotting of cow's and mare's milk developed with IgE from allergic children.
All the children showed strong positive skin test responses to cow's milk (4+); 2 children had positive skin test responses to mare's milk (2+). All children had positive DBPCOFCs to cow's milk; one child had a positive DBPCOFC to mare's milk. No children reacted to the placebo (Isomil). In the cow's milk, some proteins are able to strongly react with human IgE; when the sera are tested with mare's milk, the bands corresponding to the same proteins are recognized by a lower percentage of sera.
These data suggest that mare's milk can be regarded as a good substitute of cow's milk in most children with severe IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy. It would be prudent, however, to confirm its tolerability by a supervised titrated oral challenge test.