Wheat allergy in patients with recurrent urticaria

World Allergy Organ J. 2019 Mar 8;12(2):100013. doi: 10.1016/j.waojou.2019.100013. eCollection 2019.


Background: Clinical observation revealed that most of wheat-induced anaphylaxis (WIA)/wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA) patients showed a history of recurrent urticaria. We aim to determine the association between recurrent urticaria and anaphylaxis in wheat allergy.

Methods: Population-based cohort study involved patients with WIA (n = 193, including WDEIA n = 104), recurrent urticaria (n = 177), non-wheat-related anaphylaxis (n = 584), atopic disease (excluding anaphylaxis, n = 221) and healthy control (n = 95) from 2009 to 2016. Detailed course of urticaria and anaphylaxis were obtained from medical records and following-up questionnaire. Serum IgE specific to wheat, gluten and ω-5 gliadin and skin prick test to wheat were examined. Clinical and laboratory data were statistically analyzed.

Results: In recurrent urticaria patients, wheat allergy was not rare, and 6.8% (n = 12) was diagnosed as wheat-induced urticaria. Patients with WIA/WDEIA had higher prevalence of recurrent urticaria history than those with non-wheat-related anaphylaxis (164/193, 84.9% vs 85/584, 14.5%), and 70.4% of them (136/193) had recurrent urticaria prior to their first anaphylactic attack. Among patients with WIA/WDEIA and previous urticaria, 46.3% experienced an exacerbation of urticaria. The value of serum specific IgE to ω-5 gliadin was significantly higher in patients with WIA/WDEIA than those with wheat-induced urticaria.

Conclusions: We recommend screening wheat allergy in recurrent urticaria to identify patients who have a potential risk to develop severe reactions earlier.

Keywords: Recurrent urticaria; WDEIA, wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis; WIA, wheat-induced anaphylaxis; WIU, wheat-induced urticaria; Wheat allergy; Wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis; Wheat-induced anaphylaxis; ω-5 gliadin.