Background and objective: Due to the increasing popularity of exotic fruits in the Western diet, allergologists are confronted with allergic reactions to substances in these plants. The present report describes an anaphylactic reaction after the consumption of lychee fruit (Litchi sinensis). The atopic patient also suffers from rhinoconjunctivitis due to a sensitization against pollen of the Compositae family, as well as from dyspnoea after eating sunflower seeds. Our goals were to determine crossreactivity between antibodies against lychee fruit and other plants and to characterize the allergen.
Methods and results: Specific IgE against lychee fruits were detected by an EAST assay. The allergen was characterized by immunoblot, immunoblot inhibition and EAST inhibition assays. Broad crossreactivity between lychee fruit and other plants was found and profilin identified as the protein responsible for the patient's complex allergy syndrome.
Conclusion: Lychee fruit contains a significant amount of profilin. Consumption of this exotic fruit can cause severe anaphylactic reactions in patients being sensitized against the plant pan-allergen profilin.