Investigation into the α-Gal Syndrome: Characteristics of 261 Children and Adults Reporting Red Meat Allergy.J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2019 Sep - Oct; 7(7):2348-2358.e4.JA
Red meat allergy has historically been understood as a rare disease of atopic children, but the discovery of the "α-Gal syndrome," which relates to IgE to the oligosaccharide galactose-α-1,3-galactose (α-Gal), has challenged that notion.
To describe the clinical and immunologic characteristics of a large group of subjects with self-reported allergy to mammalian meat.
This was an observational study of 261 children and adults (range, 5-82 years) who presented for evaluation for allergic reactions to mammalian meat. Results were based on serum assays and a detailed questionnaire.
α-Gal specific IgE ≥ 0.35 IU/mL was detected in 245 subjects and symptom onset occurred ≥2 hours after eating mammalian meat in 211 (81%). Component testing supported a diagnosis of α-Gal syndrome in 95%, pork-cat syndrome in 1.9%, and primary beef allergy in 1.1%. Urticaria was reported by 93%, anaphylaxis by 60%, and gastrointestinal symptoms by 64%. Levels of IgE and IgG specific to α-Gal were similar in subjects who reported early- or delayed-onset symptoms, and in those with and without anaphylaxis. Levels of α-Gal specific IgE and severity of reactions were similar among those with and without traditional atopy, and among children (n = 35) and adults (n = 226). Blood group B trended toward being under-represented among α-Gal-sensitized subjects; however, α-Gal specific IgE titers were high in symptomatic cases with B-antigen.
The α-Gal syndrome is a regionally common form of food allergy that has a characteristic but not universal delay in symptom onset, includes gastrointestinal symptoms, can develop at any time in life, and is equally common in otherwise nonatopic individuals.