Sunflower seed allergy.Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2016 Sep; 29(3):498-503.IJ
Sunflower seeds are a rare source of allergy, but several cases of occupational allergies to sunflowers have been described. Sunflower allergens on the whole, however, still await precise and systematic description. We present an interesting case of a 40-year-old male patient, admitted to hospital due to shortness of breath and urticaria, both of which appeared shortly after the patient ingested sunflower seeds. Our laryngological examination revealed swelling of the pharynx with retention of saliva and swelling of the mouth and tongue. During diagnostics, 2 months later, we found that skin prick tests were positive to mugwort pollen (12/9 mm), oranges (6/6 mm), egg protein (3/3 mm), and hazelnuts (3/3 mm). A native prick by prick test with sunflower seeds was strongly positive (8/5 mm). Elevated concentrations of specific IgE against weed mix (inc. lenscale, mugwort, ragweed) allergens (1.04 IU/mL), Artemisia vulgaris (1.36 IU/mL), and Artemisia absinthium (0.49 IU/mL) were found. An ImmunoCap ISAC test found an average level of specific IgE against mugwort pollen allergen component Art v 1 - 5,7 ISU-E, indicating an allergy to mugwort pollen and low to medium levels of specific IgE against lipid transfer proteins (LTP) found in walnuts, peanuts, mugwort pollen, and hazelnuts. Through the ISAC inhibition test we proved that sunflower seed allergen extracts contain proteins cross-reactive with patients' IgE specific to Art v 1, Art v 3, and Jug r 3. Based on our results and the clinical pattern of the disease we confirmed that the patient is allergic to mugwort pollen and that he had an anaphylactic reaction as a result of ingesting sunflower seeds. We suspected that hypersensitivity to sunflower LTP and defensin-like proteins, both cross-reactive with mugwort pollen allergens, were the main cause of the patient's anaphylactic reaction.