Soy allergy in perspective

Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Jun;8(3):270-5. doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e3282ffb157.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this paper is to review and discuss studies on soy allergy.

Recent findings: In Central Europe soy is a clinically relevant birch pollen-related allergenic food. Crossreaction is mediated by a Bet v 1 homologous protein, Gly m 4. Additionally, birch pollen allergic patients might acquire through Bet v 1 sensitization allergies to mungbean or peanut, in which Vig r 1 and Ara h 8 are the main cross-reactive allergens. Threshold doses in soy allergic individuals range from 10 mg to 50 g of soy and are more than one order of magnitude higher than in peanut allergy. No evidence was found for increased allergenicity of genetically modified soybeans.

Summary: In Europe, both primary and pollen-related food allergy exist. The diagnosis of legume allergy in birch pollen-sensitized patients should not be excluded on a negative IgE testing to legume extracts. Bet v 1 related allergens are often underrepresented in extracts. Gly m 4 from soy and Ara h 8 from peanut are nowadays commercially available and are recommended in birch pollen allergic patients with suspicion of soy or peanut allergy, but negative extract-based diagnostic tests to screen for IgE specific to these recombinant allergens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Antigens, Plant* / administration & dosage
  • Antigens, Plant* / adverse effects
  • Antigens, Plant* / immunology
  • Desensitization, Immunologic / trends
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / physiopathology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Molecular Mimicry*
  • Plant Proteins / adverse effects*
  • Soybeans / adverse effects*
  • Soybeans / immunology
  • Structural Homology, Protein


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Gly m 4 allergen, Glycine max
  • Gly m I protein, Glycine max
  • Plant Proteins