Food and Pollen

Cross-reactions can occur between inhaled pollen and ingested food allergens. There is a well-documented association between allergy to birch tree pollen and allergy to apple, carrot, celery, potato, orange, and tomato. This and other similar types of associations are explained by the conservation of protein across species, and a number of so-called panallergens have been described:

1. Profilins in birch pollen, hazelnut, and apple

2. Class 1 chitinases in avocado, banana, and latex

3. Lipid transfer proteins in apple and peach

4. Tropomyosin in insects and shellfish

Cross-reacting IgE antibodies reactive with related foods can often be detected in people who are allergic to a member of these food groups, but clinical reactions are uncommon.

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