Allergens to wheat and related cereals

Clin Exp Allergy. 2008 Nov;38(11):1712-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.03101.x. Epub 2008 Sep 24.


Wheat is one of the major crops grown, processed and consumed by humankind and is associated with both intolerances (notably coeliac disease) and allergies. Two types of allergy are particularly well characterized. The first is bakers' asthma, which results from the inhalation of flour and dust during grain processing. Although a number of wheat proteins have been shown to bind IgE from patients with bakers' asthma, there is no doubt a well-characterized group of inhibitors of alpha-amylase (also called chloroform methanol soluble, or CM, proteins) are the major components responsible for this syndrome. The second well-characterized form of allergy to wheat proteins is wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA), with the omega(5)-gliadins (part of the gluten protein fraction) being the major group of proteins which are responsible. Other forms of food allergy have also been reported, with the proteins responsible including gluten proteins, CM proteins and non-specific lipid transfer proteins. Processing of wheat and of related cereals (barley and rye, which may contain related allergens) may lead to decreased allergenicity while genetic engineering technology offers opportunities to eliminate allergens by suppressing gene expression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Anaphylaxis / immunology
  • Antigens, Plant / immunology*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Edible Grain / immunology*
  • Food Handling
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / immunology
  • Seed Storage Proteins / chemistry
  • Seed Storage Proteins / physiology
  • Triticum / immunology*


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Seed Storage Proteins