Different IgE reactivity profiles in birch pollen-sensitive patients from six European populations revealed by recombinant allergens: an imprint of local sensitization

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2002 Aug;128(4):325-35. doi: 10.1159/000063855.


Background: Sensitivity to birch pollen allergens is a common feature among European patients with seasonal pollen allergy. In this in vitro study, we examined the specific serum IgE binding profiles to individual birch pollen allergens in birch-sensitive patients from six European populations.

Methods: The study included 242 patients from Finland, Sweden, Austria, France, Switzerland and Italy. All suffered from seasonal rhinoconjunctivitis and/or asthma. Their sera were analyzed for specific IgE reactivity to individual birch pollen allergens (recombinant Bet v 1, Bet v 2 and Bet v 4) and natural birch pollen extract using Pharmacia CAP System and immunoblotting.

Results: Almost all Finnish, Swedish and Austrian sera contained IgE specific for Bet v 1 (>or=98%). Bet v 1-specific IgE antibodies were found in 90% of the French sera, and in 65 and 62% of the sera from Switzerland and Italy, respectively. Few Finnish (2%) and Swedish (12%) patients had IgE to Bet v 2, while Bet v 2 reactivity was more common in the other populations (20-43%). Reactivity to Bet v 4 was rare in all populations (5-11%) except for the Italian patients, in whom 3 of 11 sera were positive (27%). The immunoblot results supported the specific IgE profiles obtained with Pharmacia CAP System showing a broader IgE reactivity profile in patients from central and southern Europe as compared to northern Europe.

Conclusion: Component-resolved allergy diagnosis with recombinant allergens reveals that the IgE reactivity profiles to individual birch pollen allergens vary between European populations. This observation may be explained by sensitization to different allergen sources and will have an impact on allergen-specific prevention and therapy strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Allergens / genetics
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Betula / immunology*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / immunology
  • Child
  • Conjunctivitis, Allergic / immunology
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / immunology
  • Pollen / immunology*
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / immunology*


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Plant
  • BETV4 protein, Betula pendula
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Bet v 1 allergen, Betula
  • Immunoglobulin E