Cow's milk allergy: from allergens to new forms of diagnosis, therapy and prevention

Methods. 2014 Mar 1;66(1):22-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2013.08.005. Epub 2013 Aug 15.


The first adverse reactions to cow's milk were already described 2,000 years ago. However, it was only 50 years ago that several groups started with the analysis of cow's milk allergens. Meanwhile the spectrum of allergy eliciting proteins within cow's milk is identified and several cow's milk allergens have been characterized regarding their biochemical properties, fold and IgE binding epitopes. The diagnosis of cow's milk allergy is diverse ranging from fast and cheap in vitro assays to elaborate in vivo assays. Considerable effort was spent to improve the diagnosis from an extract-based into a component resolved concept. There is still no suitable therapy available against cow's milk allergy except avoidance. Therefore research needs to focus on the development of suitable and safe immunotherapies that do not elicit severe side effect.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Microarray; Milk allergy; Recombinant allergens; Therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunotherapy
  • Intradermal Tests
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Milk Proteins / adverse effects
  • Milk Proteins / chemistry
  • Milk Proteins / immunology*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Patch Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Recombinant Proteins / adverse effects
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology


  • Allergens
  • Milk Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin E