Oral allergy syndrome to chicory associated with birch pollen allergy

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2003 May;131(1):19-24. doi: 10.1159/000070430.


Background: A few cases of IgE-mediated chicory allergy with oral, cutaneous, and/or respiratory symptoms are reported. We present 4 patients with inhalant birch pollen allergy and oral allergy syndrome to chicory. IgE-binding proteins in chicory and cross-reactivity with birch pollen were studied.

Methods: Chicory extract was prepared and immunoblotting was used to study IgE reactivity and cross-reactions with birch pollen.

Results: The pattern of IgE binding to chicory was variable among the patients, with protein bands recognized at 18, 21, 40, 52 and 71 kD. Bet v 1-like proteins were detected in chicory by monoclonal antibody binding. Chicory-birch pollen cross-reactivity, as studied in 2 patients from whom enough serum was available, could be demonstrated but did not involve the Bet v 1 protein family. In one of these cases, a 51-kD protein of birch pollen was found to be responsible for cross-reactivity.

Conclusions: Chicory should be added to the list of foods that can cross-react with birch pollen and cause the birch pollen-associated oral allergy syndrome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Allergens / analysis
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibody Specificity / immunology
  • Betula / adverse effects*
  • Betula / immunology
  • Binding Sites, Antibody / immunology
  • Cichorium intybus / adverse effects*
  • Cichorium intybus / immunology
  • Cross Reactions / immunology
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / blood
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Mouth Diseases / blood
  • Mouth Diseases / etiology*
  • Mouth Diseases / immunology
  • Pollen / adverse effects*
  • Pollen / immunology
  • Protein Binding / immunology
  • Syndrome
  • Women's Health


  • Allergens
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Immunoglobulin E