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Soy allergy in perspective

Ballmer-Weber, Barbara K; Vieths, Stefan

Current Opinion in Allergy and 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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