Allergy to fish parvalbumins: studies on the cross-reactivity of allergens from 9 commonly consumed fish

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Dec;116(6):1314-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2005.07.033. Epub 2005 Oct 3.


Background: Fish-hypersensitive patients can probably tolerate some fish species while being allergic to others.

Objective: To determine the allergenic cross-reactivity between 9 commonly edible fish: cod, salmon, pollack, mackerel, tuna, herring, wolffish, halibut, and flounder.

Methods: Sera from 10 patients allergic to fish and rabbit antisera against 3 parvalbumins (Gad c 1, Sal s 1, and The c 1) were used. Cross-reactivity was investigated by SDS/PAGE and IgE immunoblotting, IgG ELISA, IgE ELISA inhibition, and skin prick test (SPT).

Results: Cod (Gad c 1), salmon (Sal s 1), pollack (The c 1), herring, and wolffish share antigenic and allergenic determinants as shown by immunoblots and IgE ELISA, whereas halibut, flounder, tuna, and mackerel displayed lowest cross-reactivities. The highest mean IgE ELISA inhibition percent of 10 sera was obtained by Gad c 1, followed by The c 1, herring, Sal s 1, wolffish, halibut, flounder, tuna, and mackerel with the least inhibition. Nine of the 10 patients showed positive SPT to cod, salmon, and pollack; 8 patients reacted to recombinant (r) Sal s 1. Positive SPTs to rGad c 1 and rThe c 1 were demonstrated in 1 patient.

Conclusion: Gad c 1, Sal s 1, The c 1, herring, and wolffish contained the most potent cross-reacting allergens, whereas halibut, flounder, tuna, and mackerel were the least allergenic in the current study. The latter could probably be tolerated by some of the tested patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Cross Reactions
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Fishes / immunology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parvalbumins / immunology*
  • Skin Tests


  • Allergens
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Parvalbumins
  • Immunoglobulin E