Cross-reactivity between the Betulaceae family and fallout in the real atmospheric aeroallergen load

Sci Total Environ. 2020 May 1:715:136861. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.136861. Epub 2020 Jan 30.


Betulaceae family is a dominant tree pollen type in the atmosphere at Northwest Spain, being a major cause of allergenic rhinitis or asthma symptoms. Alnus pollen cause symptoms in the 9-20% of the total hay fever sufferers mean while the 41.89% of patients present a positive skin-prick-test for Betula allergens. Aln g1 and Bet v1 aeroallergens belong to PR-10 protein family and are associated to cross-reactivity processes. Airborne pollen and aeroallergens from Alnus and Betula were sampled during their Main Pollen Season from 2016 to 2019. Pollen sampling was conducted by means of a Hirst volumetric trap and aeroallergens were sampled using a Multi Vial Cyclone Sampler. Alnus flowering took place from January to February, with an average duration of 44 days. Betula bloom occurred from April to May with an average pollen season of 33 days. The major innovation of our study was the first detection of Aln g1 allergens in the atmosphere by using Bet v1 antibodies. This fact verified the cross-reactivity between the main allergens of Betula and Alnus pollen. Along the study period, an average of 18 days/year and 14 days/year with high potential risk of allergy due to Alnus pollen and allergen respectively, was registered. For Betula an average of 16 days/year with high potential risk of allergy due to pollen and 22 days for allergen was registered. The main consequence of the successive bloom of both trees would be the so-called "priming effect". Urban population sensitized to Betula pollen could suffer allergic symptoms during winter (as a consequence of Alnus), and in spring with the manifestation of higher symptoms under low birch pollen grain levels in the atmosphere. The traditional information to prevent allergies, such as the airborne pollen concentrations, should be combined with the data of aeroallergen to identify the real allergenic load in the atmosphere.

Keywords: Aerobiology; Alder; Allergen; Atmosphere; Bet v1; Birch; Pollen.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens
  • Betula
  • Betulaceae*
  • Pollen
  • Spain


  • Allergens