Egg Allergy: Diagnosis and Immunotherapy

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jul 16;21(14):5010. doi: 10.3390/ijms21145010.


Hypersensitivity or an allergy to chicken egg proteins is a predominant symptomatic condition affecting 1 in 20 children in Australia; however, an effective form of therapy has not yet been found. This occurs as the immune system of the allergic individual overreacts when in contact with egg allergens (egg proteins), triggering a complex immune response. The subsequent instantaneous inflammatory immune response is characterized by the excessive production of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody against the allergen, T-cell mediators and inflammation. Current allergen-specific approaches to egg allergy diagnosis and treatment lack consistency and therefore pose safety concerns among anaphylactic patients. Immunotherapy has thus far been found to be the most efficient way to treat and relieve symptoms, this includes oral immunotherapy (OIT) and sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). A major limitation in immunotherapy, however, is the difficulty in preparing effective and safe extracts from natural allergen sources. Advances in molecular techniques allow for the production of safe and standardized recombinant and hypoallergenic egg variants by targeting the IgE-binding epitopes responsible for clinical allergic symptoms. Site-directed mutagenesis can be performed to create such safe hypoallergens for their potential use in future methods of immunotherapy, providing a feasible standardized therapeutic approach to target egg allergies safely.

Keywords: allergy; egg allergens; egg allergy; hypersensitivity; hypoallergens; immunotherapy; recombinant allergens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology
  • Animals
  • Egg Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Egg Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Egg Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Egg Proteins / immunology
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Immunotherapy / methods*


  • Allergens
  • Egg Proteins
  • Epitopes
  • Immunoglobulin E