Bee pollen-induced anaphylactic reaction in an unknowingly sensitized subject

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2001 Feb;86(2):239-42. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)62698-1.


Background: The food supplement bee pollen has been previously found to cause anaphylactic reactions. It has been proposed as useful for "everything from bronchitis to hemorrhoids."

Objective: This study describes an atopic patient who experienced a non-life-threatening anaphylactic reaction upon her initial ingestion of bee pollen. Microscopic examination of the pollen sample and ELISA inhibition assays were performed.

Results: The patient had a 7 mm/28 mm wheal/erythema reaction to bee pollen at 1 mg/mL concentration. Bee pollen caused 52% inhibition of IgE binding to short ragweed and 55% to ryegrass. Microscopic analysis revealed ragweed, Alternaria, Cladosporium, honeysuckle (Lonicera sp), privet shrub (Ligustrum sp), and vetch (Vicia sativa).

Conclusions: An unknowingly sensitized atopic patient experienced an anaphylactic reaction after ingestion of a small quantity of bee pollen that contained pollens and fungi. Previously administered allergen immunotherapy that had reduced rhinitis symptoms did not prevent this allergic reaction.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Anaphylaxis / chemically induced*
  • Animals
  • Bees*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Middle Aged
  • Pollen / adverse effects*


  • Allergens