Allergenic activity of different tomato cultivars in tomato allergic subjects

Clin Exp Allergy. 2011 Nov;41(11):1643-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2011.03841.x. Epub 2011 Aug 22.


Background: Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are consumed worldwide and their amount of consumption is associated with the prevalence of tomato allergy. Therefore, identification of tomato cultivars with reduced allergenicity would potentially increase the quality of life of affected subjects.

Objective: In this study, we examined the allergenic and biological activity of two different tomato cultivars in tomato allergic subjects.

Methods: Twenty-five subjects with tomato allergy were identified using double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges (DBPCFC). We applied skin prick test (SPT) and further DBPCFC to investigate the clinical differences between two tomato cultivars ('Reisetomate' and 'Matina'). To examine the molecular basis of allergenic activity, immunoblotting and basophil activation test (BAT) were performed.

Results: The cultivar 'Reisetomate' induced significantly less positive skin reactions (P = 0.045) and elicited fewer symptoms after oral challenge compared with 'Matina' (P = 0.047). Molecular assessment revealed that IgE-binding profiles were variable on an interindividual basis, but no major differences between 'Reisetomate' and 'Matina' were detectable. In contrast, BAT underpinned the clinical differences evoked by the different tomato cultivars and showed a left-shift of the dose-response curve obtained for 'Matina' extract (P = 0.046).

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Tomato cultivars promote a distinct clinical reactivity in tomato allergic subjects, demonstrated using SPT, DBPCFC and BAT. The molecular background for these differences could not be clarified, as the IgE-binding profiles did not reveal significant alterations. This might be due to instabilities of physicochemical sensitive proteins and/or different isoform expression of allergens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, Plant / immunology*
  • Antigens, Plant / metabolism
  • Basophil Degranulation Test
  • Basophils / immunology
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Binding / immunology
  • Skin Tests
  • Solanum lycopersicum / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Antigens, Plant
  • Immunoglobulin E