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The oral allergy syndrome: improved diagnostic and treatment methods

Mari, Adrianoa; Ballmer-Weber, Barbara Kb; Vieths, Stefanc

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: June 2005 - Volume 5 - Issue 3 - p 267–273
doi: 10.1097/01.all.0000168793.27948.b0
Food allergy

Purpose of review The aim of this article is to review recent clinical and molecular findings related to the oral allergy syndrome in order to define its relevance in the field of food allergy, describe current diagnostic approaches and discuss attempts to use specific immunotherapy for treatment.

Recent findings New allergenic sources causing the oral allergy syndrome have been reported. Their allergenic molecules have been identified. In most of those studies oral allergy syndrome is reported as a clinical manifestation among more severe ones. Some of the molecules generally considered not to be at risk for severe reactions have been demonstrated to pose a threat for inducing generalized reactions. Some studies tried to assess the usefulness of immunotherapy with birch pollen extract by either subcutaneous or sublingual routes for the treatment of associated food allergies. In most of the cases, a well defined study design and a molecular approach at different study levels are lacking and thus the value of the obtained results is limited. To date, no final conclusion can be drawn on the basis of reported results.

Summary The knowledge about the highly prevalent phenomenon of oral allergy syndrome is still incomplete, in respect to both, epidemiology and foods inducing symptoms. It is very important to reach consensus on several aspects of this food-induced allergic disease. Further studies are required to highlight whether immunotherapy using co-recognized inhalant allergens is an effective way of curative treatment, or if co-treatment with purified pollen-related food allergens will be required to obtain a long-lasting effect.

aAllergy Unit, National Health Service, Rome, Italy

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

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

Correspondence to Adriano Mari, MD, Via Malipiero 28, 04100 Latina, Italy Tel: +39 330860005; fax: +39 0773 620787; e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.