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Wheat and Maize Allergies More Complex Than Expected

New sequences related to cereal allergy found

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Wheat- and maize-related food allergy is far more complex than has been understood to date, due to the heterogeneity of genetic sequences and the biochemical nature of new allergens, according to a study published in the January issue of Allergy.

In order to identify the IgE-binding repertoires of wheat and maize, Michael Weichel, Ph.D., of the Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research in Davos Platz, Switzerland, and colleagues screened the respective cDNA libraries with sera from patients with confirmed food allergy. The sera samples were from six patients with a positive double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC) to wheat, nine patients with a DBPCFC to maize and six who had anaphylactic reactions after wheat ingestion.

Both wheat and maize displayed heterogeneous repertoires of enriched sequences encoding IgE-binding proteins, with the wheat repertoire yielding 12 and the maize repertoire yielding 11 open reading frames. While some of these belonged to allergen families that have already been characterized -- for example, gliadin, profilin and beta-expansin -- novel proteins with high cross-reactive potential, such as thioredoxins, were also found. The tests also revealed some sequences that until now had not been related to cereal allergy.

"Wheat and maize-related food allergy is more complex than so far anticipated," the authors conclude.

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