The diagnosis of antibody-mediated allergic disorders is based on the clinical findings and the detection of allergen-specific IgE based on in vitro and in vivo techniques, together with allergen provocation tests. In vitro diagnostic techniques have progressed enormously following the introduction of the advances made in proteomics and nanotechnology--offering tools for the diagnosis and investigation of allergy at molecular level. The most advanced developments are the microarray techniques, which in genomics allowed rapid description of the human genetic code, and which now have been applied to proteomics, broadening the field for research and clinical use. Together with these technological advances, the characterisation of most of the different proteins generating specific IgE and which conform each natural allergen, as well as their purification or genetic engineering-based synthesis, have been crucial elements--offering the possibility of identifying disease-causing allergens at molecular level, establishing a component-resolved diagnosis (CRD), using them to study the natural course of the disease, and applying them to improvements in specific immunotherapy. Microarrays of allergic components offer results relating to hundreds of these allergenic components in a single test, and use a small amount of serum that can be obtained from capillary blood. The availability of new molecules will allow the development of panels including new allergenic components and sources, which will require evaluation for clinical use. The present study reviews these new developments, component-resolved diagnosis, and the development of microarray techniques as a critical element for furthering our knowledge of allergic disease.
2010 SEICAP. Published by Elsevier Espana. All rights reserved.