An individual who has had an anaphylactic reaction to something unknown is at an increased risk for repeated episodes if the trigger for the reaction is not identified. With recent research showing that those who have IgE to alpha-gal report anaphylaxis or hives three to six hours after eating mammalian meat, how many of these unknown cases might actually be attributed to it?
To find out, 60 patients diagnosed with recurrent, idiopathic anaphylaxis at the University of Virginia, the University of Tennessee and the John James Medical Center in Australia were identified and tested for the presence of IgE to alpha-gal.
Of the 20 patients from the Tennessee clinic, five were found to have more than 1.0 IU/mL of IgE to alpha-gal. The results from the Virginia and Australian sites showed an even higher level of positive responses to the carbohydrate. Eleven of the 22 patients from Virginia were found to have greater than 1.0 IU/mL of IgE to alpha-gal, while nine of the 18 from Australia were positive.
A broad analysis of other allergens in the 60 samples did not find any patterns that would have otherwise explained the cause of anaphylaxis in the 25 positive for alpha-gal or the remaining 35 cases.
“These studies continue to suggest not only that IgE to a carbohydrate has important clinical implications in food allergy and anaphylaxis, but that the presence of this antibody may well have been under appreciated in terms of the number of patients affected and geographical scope,” commented Scott P. Commins, MD, PhD, lead author of the study.
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- This study was presented during the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) on February 26-March 2 in New Orleans. However, it does not necessarily reflect the policies or the opinions of the AAAAI.
- A link to all abstracts presented at the Annual Meeting is available at annualmeeting.aaaai.org
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