Is aboriginal food less allergenic? Comparing IgE-reactivity of eggs from modern and ancient chicken breeds in a cohort of allergic children

PLoS One. 2011 Apr 28;6(4):e19062. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019062.

Abstract

Background: Hen's egg allergy ranks among the most frequent primary food allergies in children. We aimed to investigate sensitization profiles of egg allergic patients and compare in vitro IgE reactivities of eggs from ancient chicken breeds (Araucana and Maran) with those from conventional laying hen hybrids.

Methodology: Egg allergic children (n = 25) were subjected to skin prick test, double blind placebo controlled food challenge, and sensitization profiles to Gal d 1-5 were determined by allergen microarray. IgE binding and biological activity of eggs from different chicken breeds were investigated by immunoblot, ELISA, and mediator release assays.

Principal findings: We found that Gal d 1 and Gal d 2 are generally major egg allergens, whereas Gal d 3-5 displayed high sensitization prevalence only in patients reacting to both, egg white and yolk. It seems that the onset of egg allergy is mediated by egg white allergens expanding to yolk sensitization in later stages of disease. Of note, egg white/yolk weight ratios were reduced in eggs from Auraucana and Maran chicken. As determined in IgE immunoblots and mass analysis, eggs from ancient chicken breeds did not differ in their protein composition. Similar IgE-binding was observed for all egg white preparations, while an elevated allergenicity was detected in egg yolk from Araucana chicken.

Conclusion/significance: Our results on allergenicity and biological activity do not confirm the common assumption that aboriginal food might be less allergenic. Comprehensive diagnosis of egg allergy should distinguish between reactivity to hen's egg white and yolk fractions to avoid unnecessary dietary restrictions to improve life quality of the allergic child and its family.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / chemistry
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Ancient Lands
  • Animals
  • Chickens / classification*
  • Chickens / immunology*
  • Chickens / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Egg Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Egg Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Egg White / analysis
  • Egg Yolk / chemistry
  • Eggs* / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Oviposition

Substances

  • Allergens
  • Immunoglobulin E