Background: Celery (Apium graveolens) represents a relevant allergen source that can elicit severe reactions in the adult population. To investigate the sensitization prevalence and cross-reactivity of Api g 2 from celery stalks in a Mediterranean population and in a mouse model.
Methodology: 786 non-randomized subjects from Italy were screened for IgE reactivity to rApi g 2, rArt v 3 (mugwort pollen LTP) and nPru p 3 (peach LTP) using an allergen microarray. Clinical data of 32 selected patients with reactivity to LTP under investigation were evaluated. Specific IgE titers and cross-inhibitions were performed in ELISA and allergen microarray. Balb/c mice were immunized with purified LTPs; IgG titers were determined in ELISA and mediator release was examined using RBL-2H3 cells. Simulated endolysosomal digestion was performed using microsomes obtained from human DCs.
Results: IgE testing showed a sensitization prevalence of 25.6% to Api g 2, 18.6% to Art v 3, and 28.6% to Pru p 3 and frequent co-sensitization and correlating IgE-reactivity was observed. 10/32 patients suffering from LTP-related allergy reported symptoms upon consumption of celery stalks which mainly presented as OAS. Considerable IgE cross-reactivity was observed between Api g 2, Art v 3, and Pru p 3 with varying inhibition degrees of individual patients' sera. Simulating LTP mono-sensitization in a mouse model showed development of more congruent antibody specificities between Api g 2 and Art v 3. Notably, biologically relevant murine IgE cross-reactivity was restricted to the latter and diverse from Pru p 3 epitopes. Endolysosomal processing of LTP showed generation of similar clusters, which presumably represent T-cell peptides.
Conclusions: Api g 2 represents a relevant celery stalk allergen in the LTP-sensitized population. The molecule displays common B cell epitopes and endolysosomal peptides that encompass T cell epitopes with pollen and plant-food derived LTP.