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Anaphylaxis to Vespa velutina nigrithorax: pattern of sensitization for an emerging problem in Western countries

Vidal C1,2, Armisén M1, Monsalve R3, González-Vidal T1, Lojo S4, López-Freire S1, Méndez P1, Rodríguez V1, Romero L1, Galán A3, González-Quintela A2,5

1Allergy Department, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago, Faculty of Medicine, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain
2Spanish Network for Addictive Disorders (Red de Trastornos Adictivos, RD16/0017/0018), Spain
3CMC R&D (Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Research and Development), ALK-Abelló, Madrid, Spain
4Department of Biochemistry, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
5Department of Medicine, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago, Faculty of Medicine, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2021; Vol. 31(3)
doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0474

Objective: To define the sensitization pattern of patients with anaphylaxis to Vespa velutina nigrithorax (VVN).
Methods: One-hundred consecutive Spanish patients with Hymenoptera anaphylaxis were studied. We systematically determined specific IgE (sIgE) to whole venoms (Vespula spp., Polistes dominula, Apis mellífera, Vespa crabro, Dolichovespula maculata) and their molecular components (rApi m 1, rApi m 5, rApi m 10, rVes v 1, rVes v 5, rPol d 5, cross-reactive carbohydrates). Specific IgE to VVN venom and its antigen-5 (nVesp v 5) were measured in a subsample.
Results: Seventy-seven patients had VVN anaphylaxis. Of these, only 16 (20.8%) reported previous VVN stings but were stung by other Hymenoptera. Positive (>0.35 kUA/L) sIgE to each of the whole venoms was detected in >70% of patients (Vespula spp. in 100%). Components showing >50% positivity were rApi m 5 (51.4%), rPol d 5 (80.0%), and rVes v 5 (98.7%). This pattern was similar to that of patients with Vespula spp. anaphylaxis (n=11) but different from that of Apis mellifera anaphylaxis (n=10). Specific IgE to nVesp v 5 was positive in all studied patients (n=15) with VVN anaphylaxis and was correlated with sIgE to both rVes v 5 (R=0.931) and rPol d 5 (R=0.887).
Conclusions: VVN has become the commonest cause of Hymenoptera anaphylaxis in our area. Most cases report no previous VVN stings. Their sensitization pattern is similar to that of patients with anaphylaxis to other Vespidae. Specific IgE to antigen-5 from VVN, Vespula spp., and Polistes dominula are strongly correlated in patients with VVN anaphylaxis.

Key words: Vespa velutina nigrithorax, Anaphylaxis, Ves v 5, Pol d 5, Vesp v 5, Allergy, Hymenoptera