Identification of new potential allergens from Nile perch (Lates niloticus) and cod (Gadus morhua)

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2013;23(3):159-67.


Background: Globalization of the food industry has led to widespread exposure to new nondomestic fish species; therefore, identification of potential allergens is necessary in order to diagnose allergic reactions.

Objective: Contact with a patient who was allergic to Nile perch (Lates niloticus) prompted us to investigate the immunoglobulin (Ig) E-reactive proteins that could be allergens of this species.

Methods: 2D gel electrophoresis was used to separate the muscle proteins of L niloticus and Gadus morhua. Immunoblotting was performed with sera from 12 patients with a history of immediate-type allergic reaction to fish and from atopic and nonatopic controls. IgE-reactive proteins were detected and identified using mass spectrometry.

Results: The index patient had low levels of IgE binding to parvalbumins. However, 8 putative allergens other than parvalbumin from L niloticus and 5 from G morhua were identified. Further investigation revealed cross-sensitivity to enolase 3 from L niloticus in 7 of the 12 fish-allergic individuals (58%), whereas 11 of the 12 patients (92%) were sensitized to enolase 3 from G morhua. However, atopic control patients were also sensitized to enolase 3 from L niloticus and G morhua.

Conclusion: Identification of species-specific allergens and individual sensitization could help us to improve avoidance strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Allergens / analysis*
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Animals
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Fish Proteins / analysis*
  • Fish Proteins / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Gadus morhua / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perches / immunology*
  • Young Adult


  • Allergens
  • Fish Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin E