Background: Mugwort pollen is an important allergen source in hay fever and pollen-related food allergy. Little is known about the clinical relevance of the major mugwort allergen Art v 1 and its importance in allergy.
Objective: In this study we aimed to investigate the allergenicity of mugwort extract compared with the allergenicity of native (n)Art v 1 and recombinant (r)Art v 1, one major allergen of mugwort, in vivo and in vitro.
Methods: Thirty-two patients allergic to mugwort and 10 control subjects were investigated by means of skin prick and nasal provocation testing with different concentrations of mugwort extract, nArt v 1, and rArt v 1. nArt v 1 was purified from aqueous mugwort extract, and rArt v 1 was cloned, expressed in Escherichia coli, and then purified. The in vitro allergenicity was measured by means of ImmunoCAP, ELISA, ELISA-inhibition experiments, and T-cell proliferation assays.
Results: nArt v 1 and rArt v 1 were able to elicit positive in vivo and in vitro reactions. The IgE-binding capacity, as determined by means of ELISA, was slightly higher for nArt v 1 than for rArt v 1, and both allergens were able to induce T-cell proliferation in sensitized patients. However, rArt v 1 elicited a reduced response in skin and nasal provocation tests compared with nArt v 1. Compared with mugwort extract, both nArt v 1 and rArt v 1 showed lower sensitivity in patients with mugwort allergy in vivo.
Conclusions: Art v 1, either in its native or recombinant form, is able to induce allergic reactions in patients with mugwort allergy. rArt v 1 induced comparable humoral and cell-mediated responses in vitro but showed reduced in vivo allergenicity compared with biochemically purified nArt v 1.