"Default" versus "pre-atopic" IgG responses to foodborne and airborne pathogenesis-related group 10 protein molecules in birch-sensitized and nonatopic children

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 May;135(5):1367-74.e1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2014.09.048. Epub 2014 Nov 22.


Background: The route and dose of exposure are believed to be relevant factors in the sensitization process. Pathogenesis-related group 10 protein (PR-10) molecules are a family of allergenic proteins shared by many pollens (eg, birch and alder) and foods (eg, apple, peach, and soy). Children are exposed to both pollen-derived (inhaled) and food-derived (ingested) PR-10 molecules.

Objective: We sought to investigate the role of route and dose of exposure in the evolution of IgG and IgE responses to recombinant PR-10 molecules.

Methods: The German Multicentre Allergy Study examined a birth cohort born in 1990. Blood samples were collected at the ages of 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 13 years. Participants were included in the present analysis if they had (1) at least 1 serum sample at each of the 4 age periods or time points (1-3 years, 5-7 years, 10 years, and 13 years) and (2) IgE responses to birch (children with birch atopy) or no IgE response at all to 9 common aeroallergens and food allergens (nonatopic children). Therefore serum IgE antibodies to a panel of 4 airborne and 5 foodborne extracts, as well as to Bet v 1, were measured in singleplex assays, whereas IgG and IgE antibodies to a panel of 3 airborne PR-10 molecules (rBet v 1, rAln g 1, and rCor a 1.0101) and 7 foodborne PR-10 molecules (rCor a 1.0401, rMal d 1, rPru p 1, rGly m 4, rAra h 8, rApi g 1, and rDau c 1) were tested by using a multiplex microarray.

Results: In the present analyses we included 28 children with birch atopy and randomly selected 28 nonatopic children from the 190 children fulfilling the inclusion criteria. Two different patterns of IgG responses to PR-10 molecules were identified. Among nonatopic subjects, a "default" IgG response was directed mostly against foodborne PR-10, started often before age 2 years, stayed weak, and was mostly transient. Among all atopic subjects, the default IgG response at age 1 year was overwhelmed after age 2 years by an "pre-atopic" IgG response, which started with or shortly before the IgE response and was intense and persistent. This atopic IgG response, as well as the IgE response, involved progressively more foodborne PR-10 proteins with frequencies and levels related to their homology with Bet v 1.

Conclusions: The results suggest that children have a default antibody response to PR-10 molecules, which is early, weak, and transient; does not involve IgE; and is initiated by foodborne PR-10. By contrast, an atopic antibody response to PR-10 molecules is delayed, strong, and persistent; involves both IgG and IgE; and is initiated by airborne PR-10.

Keywords: Allergen; Bet v 1; IgE; IgG; birch pollen; birth cohort; childhood; pathogenesis-related group 10 protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / epidemiology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Plant Proteins / immunology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / epidemiology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / immunology*
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies


  • Allergens
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Plant Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin E