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Case Report


Airborne allergy to sunflower seed


R. Asero1, G. Mistrello2, D. Roncarolo2, S. Amato2

1 Ambulatorio di Allergologia, Clinica San Carlo, Paderno Dugnano (MI); Italy
2 Lofarma SpA, Milan, Italy

J Invest Allergol Clin Immunol 2004; Vol. 14(3): 244-246



Background: There is increasing evidence that bird fanciers may develop airborne allergies to unusual allergens.

: To detect the allergen source in a bird fancier with a history of asthma associated with bird cage cleaning activities and with contact with a Brazil parrot.

Methods: SPT with a large series of both airborne and food allergens were carried out. IgE reactivity to allergens causing wheal and flare reactions was confirmed by in-vitro investigations including ELISA/ELISA inhibition and immunoblot analysis.

Results: Strong skin reactivity to sunflower seed was observed. Immunoblot analysis showed IgE reactivity to low m.w. proteins, most probably 2S albumin, and ELISA inhibition studies showed the absence of cross-reactivity to mustard.

Conclusion: Sunflower seed dust may sensitize patients via the respiratory tract. Differently from previously reported cases of sunflower seed allergy, no cross-reactivity to 2S albumin from botanically unrelated seeds was found.

Key words: Asthma, Food allergy, Sunflower seed, 2S albumins