Cow's milk allergens identification by two-dimensional immunoblotting and mass spectrometry

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2004 Oct;48(5):363-9. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200400011.


Cow's milk allergy (CMA) has become a common disease in early childhood, its prevalence ranging from 1.6% to 2.8% among children younger than 2 years of age. The role of different cow's milk protein (CMP) in the pathogenesis of CMA is still controversial. Even if the proteins most frequently and most intensively recognized by immunoglobulin E (IgE) seem to be the most abundant in milk (caseins and beta-lactoglobulin), with an although great variability all milk proteins appear to be potential allergens, even those that are present in trace amounts (i.e., lactoferrin, IgG, and BSA). In this work proteomics techniques have been applied for CMP allergens analysis. Allergens have been identified by immunoblotting following resolution of CMP components by two-dimensional electrophoresis. Sera from 20 milk-allergic subjects, as proven by oral provocation test, CAP-RAST and skin prick test, have been used for cow's milk major allergen identification. Cow's milk proteins and their isoforms were identified by matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF)-mass spectrometry. In our group of patients, the prevalence of CMP allergens, i.e., the total number of subjects sensitized to CMP divided by the total number of the subjects enrolled in the study, was: 55% alpha(s1)-casein, 90% alpha(s2)-casein, 15% beta-casein, 50% kappa-casein, 45% beta-lactoglobulin, 45% BSA, 95% IgG-heavy chain, 50% lactoferrin, and 0% alpha-lactalbumin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / analysis*
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Animals
  • Caseins / immunology
  • Cattle
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / immunology
  • Infant
  • Lactalbumin / immunology
  • Lactoferrin / immunology
  • Lactoglobulins / immunology
  • Male
  • Milk / immunology*
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Milk Proteins / immunology*
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / immunology
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Allergens
  • Caseins
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Lactoglobulins
  • Milk Proteins
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Lactalbumin
  • Lactoferrin