[Cross-reactivity between fruit and vegetables].Allergol Immunopathol (Madr) 2003 May-Jun; 31(3):141-6AI
Vegetable foods are the most frequent cause of food allergy after the age of 5 years. The most commonly implicated foods are fruit and dried fruits, followed in Spain by legumes and fresh garden produce. In patients allergic to fruit and garden produce, multiple sensitizations to other vegetable products, whether from the same family or taxonomically unrelated, are frequent, although they do not always share the same clinical expression. Furthermore, more than 75 % of these patients are allergic to pollen, the type of pollen varying in relation to the aerobiology of the area. The basis of these associations among vegetable foods and with pollens lies in the existence of IgE antibodies against "panallergens", which determines cross-reactivity. Panallergens are proteins that are spread throughout the vegetable kingdom and are implicated in important biological functions (generally defense) and consequently their sequences and structures are highly conserved. The three best-known groups are allergens homologous to Bet v 1, profilins, and lipid transfer proteins (LTP). Allergens homologous to Bet v 1 (major birch pollen allergen) constitute a group of defense proteins (PR-10), with a molecular weight of 17 kDa, which behave as major allergens in patients from northern and central Europe with allergy to vegetables associated with birch pollen allergy. In these patients, the primary sensitization seems to be produced through the inhalation route on exposure to birch pollen. The symptomatology characteristically associated with sensitization to this family of allergens is oral allergy syndrome (OAS). Profilins are highly conserved proteins in all eukaryotic organisms and are present in pollen and a wide variety of vegetable foods. They have a molecular weight of 14 kDa and present a high degree of structural homology as well as marked cross-reactivity among one another. The presence of anti-profilin IgE broadens the spectrum of sensitizations to vegetable foods detected through skin tests and/or in vitro tests but whether it correlates with the clinical expression of food allergy is unclear.LTPs are the most commonly implicated allergens in allergy to Rosaceae fruits in patients from the Mediterranean area without birch pollen sensitization. LTPs are a family of 9kDA polypeptides, widely found in the vegetable kingdom and implicated in cuticle formation and defense against pathogens (PR-14). They are thermostable and resistant to pepsin digestion, which makes them potent food allergens and explains the frequent development of systemic symptoms (urticaria, anaphylaxis) in patients allergic to Rosaceae fruits in Spain. LTPs have also been identified in other vegetable foods and in pollens and a marked degree of cross-reactivity among them has been demonstrated, which may explain (together with profilin) the frequency of individuals sensitized to vegetable foods in the Mediterranean area.