Purpose of review: To evaluate the relevance of results obtained using allergen microarray technique for the description of the IgE repertoire in allergic patients.
Recent findings: Allergen microarray was introduced at the beginning of the last decade. Since then, an increasing number of allergens have been identified, correspondingly increasing the accuracy of the description of immunoglobulin (Ig)E repertoire. In the last 2 years, a large number of articles were published that accurately described not only the general features of this technique, but also the use of allergen microarray in specific situations.
Summary: The recent availability of highly purified or recombinant allergen components has deeply modified the laboratory approach to allergy diagnosis that, now, it cannot be limited to the detection of IgE specific to extractive allergens. Indeed, these contain both specific components (i.e. molecules strictly associated to that allergen source) and pan-allergen or cross-reacting allergens (i.e. molecules that are present in different similar allergen sources or that are present in highly homologous structures in different species). Newer techniques such as recombinant allergen testing and allergen microarray allow a more detailed evaluation of IgE responses. Future research is needed to more clearly define their role in clinical practice.
aClinical Pathology Laboratories, Department of Experimental and Laboratory Medicine, Istituto G. Gaslini
bAllergy and Respiratory Diseases Clinic, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genova, Genova
cIstituto di Farmacologia Traslazionale, CNR, Roma and Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Seconda Università di Napoli, Napoli, Italy
Correspondence to Giovanni Melioli, MD, Department of Experimental and Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Pathology Laboratories, Giannina Gaslini Teaching Hospital, Genova, Italy. Tel: +39 010 5636557; fax: +39 010 3994168; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org