Double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge with apple

Allergy. 2001 Feb;56(2):109-17. doi: 10.1034/j.1398-9995.2001.056002109.x.


The aim of the study was to develop and evaluate different methods of double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC) with apple. Three different DBPCFC models were evaluated: fresh apple juice, freshly grated apple, and freeze-dried apple powder. All challenges were performed outside the pollen season and took place from 1997 to 1999. The freeze-dried apple material was characterized by means of leukocyte histamine release (HR), skin prick test (SPT), and immunoblotting experiments. The study population consisted of birch pollen-allergic patients with a history of rhinitis in the birch-pollen season and positive specific IgE to birch. For comparison of the DBPCFC models, 65 patients with a positive open oral challenge with apple were selected. In the characterization of the freeze-dried apple material, 46 birch pollen-allergic patients were included. The IgE reactivity to apple was evaluated by measurement of specific IgE, HR, and SPT. Golden Delicious apples were used in all experiments. The results of this study showed that it was possible to perform DBPCFC with apple in birch pollen-allergic individuals. The model with freshly squeezed apple juice had a low sensitivity and displayed a high frequency of reactions to placebo, probably due to the ingredients used for blinding. The sensitivity of the models with freshly grated apple and freeze-dried apple powder was 0.74/0.60. An increase in sensitivity is desirable. The freeze-dried apple powder proved to be useful for SPT, HR, and oral challenges, but further investigation of the stability and the allergenic profile of the material is needed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cross Reactions
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Food Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Freeze Drying
  • Histamine Release
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Immunoblotting
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Pollen / immunology*
  • Powders
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / complications
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / immunology*
  • Rosales / immunology*
  • Skin Tests
  • Time Factors
  • Trees*


  • Powders