Optimizing the diagnosis of food allergy

Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2015 Feb;35(1):61-76. doi: 10.1016/j.iac.2014.09.009. Epub 2014 Nov 21.


Accurately diagnosing a patient with a possible food allergy is important to avoid unnecessary dietary restrictions and prevent life-threatening reactions. Routine testing modalities have limited accuracy, and an oral food challenge is often required to make a definitive diagnosis. Given that they are labor intensive and risk inducing an allergic reaction, several alternative diagnostic modalities have been investigated. Testing for IgE antibodies to particular protein components in foods has shown promise to improve diagnostics and has entered clinical practice. Additional modalities show potential, including epitope binding, T-cell studies, and basophil activation.

Keywords: Basophil activation; Component-resolved diagnostics; Diagnosis; Epitope; Food allergy; Food-specific IgE; Oral food challenge; Skin prick testing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology
  • Basophils / immunology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Platelet Activating Factor / immunology
  • Skin Tests / methods*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Allergens
  • Epitopes
  • Platelet Activating Factor
  • Immunoglobulin E