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Soy allergy in perspective

Ballmer-Weber, Barbara K; Vieths, Stefan

Current Opinion in Allergy & Clinical Immunology: June 2008 - Volume 8 - Issue 3 - p 270–275
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e3282ffb157
Food allergy: Edited by Suzanne S. Teuber and Kirsten Beyer

Purpose of review: The purpose of this paper is to review and discuss studies on soy allergy.

Recent findings: In Central Europe soy is a clinically relevant birch pollen-related allergenic food. Crossreaction is mediated by a Bet v 1 homologous protein, Gly m 4. Additionally, birch pollen allergic patients might acquire through Bet v 1 sensitization allergies to mungbean or peanut, in which Vig r 1 and Ara h 8 are the main cross-reactive allergens. Threshold doses in soy allergic individuals range from 10 mg to 50 g of soy and are more than one order of magnitude higher than in peanut allergy. No evidence was found for increased allergenicity of genetically modified soybeans.

Summary: In Europe, both primary and pollen-related food allergy exist. The diagnosis of legume allergy in birch pollen-sensitized patients should not be excluded on a negative IgE testing to legume extracts. Bet v 1 related allergens are often underrepresented in extracts. Gly m 4 from soy and Ara h 8 from peanut are nowadays commercially available and are recommended in birch pollen allergic patients with suspicion of soy or peanut allergy, but negative extract-based diagnostic tests to screen for IgE specific to these recombinant allergens.

aAllergy Unit, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

bDepartment of Allergology, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Langen, Germany

Correspondence to Barbara Ballmer-Weber, Allergy Unit, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Zürich, Gloriastr. 31, CH-8091 Zürich, Switzerland Tel: +41 44 2553079; fax: +41 44 2554431; e-mail:

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