Lipid transfer proteins (LTPs) are major allergens of Rosaceae fruits in the Mediterranean area. IgE-cross-reactivity has been demonstrated in vitro among LTPs from peach, apple, chestnut and Artemisia pollen. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reactivity to LTPs from peach, apple, chestnut and Artemisia pollen by means of skin prick tests (SPTs).
Forty-seven patients allergic to peach (peach group), 20 patients sensitized to Artemisia pollen with no food allergies (Artemisia group), and 12 control subjects were skin tested with fresh peach, as well as with whole extracts and purified LTPs of peach, apple, chestnut and Artemisia pollen.
The rates of positive SPTs for peach, apple, chestnut and Artemisia LTPs were, respectively, 91, 77, 23, and 36% in the peach group, and 30, 5, 15 and 40% in the Artemisia group. No response was observed in the control subjects. SPTs with peach LTP strongly correlated with SPTs conducted with fresh peach. In the peach group, the most frequent pattern of reactivity to LTPs was the combination peach-apple (45%), followed by peach-apple-Artemisia-chestnut (21%). Significant correlations were found between peach and apple LTPs, and between Artemisia and chestnut LTPs. Positive SPTs to chestnut LTP were only observed in patients with positive SPTs to Artemisia LTP. All the patients with positive case histories to chestnut reacted to chestnut LTP.
LTPs are plant panallergens with different patterns of cross-reactivity. They are major allergens of Rosaceae fruits and seem to be involved in allergic reactions to unrelated foodstuffs such as chestnut, probably through sensitization to the cross-reactive Artemisia LTP. Rosaceae LTPs could be useful tools for in vivo diagnosis of Rosaceae fruit allergy.