The food allergy research in humans within the UCFA takes mainly place at the UMCU. This research concentrates on the following food allergens:
- Cow’s milk
- Peanut and other legumes
- Hazelnut and other nuts
Studies have been performed in both adults and children with food allergy, to characterize them by optimizing the available diagnostic tools. This has resulted in well-defined populations of patients for these allergens ((Wensing M, Penninks AH, Hefle SL, Koppelman SJ, Bruijnzeel-Koomen CA, Knulst AC. The distribution of individual threshold doses eliciting allergic reactions in a population with peanut allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2002;110(6):915-20)),((Peeters KA, Koppelman SJ, van Hoffen E, van der Tas CW, den Hartog Jager CF, Penninks AH, Hefle SL, Bruijnzeel-Koomen CA, Knol EF, Knulst AC. Does skin prick test reactivity to purified allergens correlate with clinical severity of peanut allergy? Clin Exp Allergy 2007;37(1):108-15)),((Flinterman AE, Akkerdaas JH, den Hartog Jager CF, Rigby NM, Fernandez-Rivas M, Hoekstra MO, Bruijnzeel-Koomen CA, Knulst AC, van Ree R, Pasmans SG. Lipid transfer protein-linked hazelnut allergy in children from a non-Mediterranean birch-endemic area. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2008;121(2):423-428)),((Flinterman AE, Knol EF, Lencer D, Bardina L, den Hartog Jager CF, Lin J, Pasmans SG, Bruijnzeel-Koomen CA, Sampson HA, van Hoffen E, Shreffler WG. Peanut epitopes for IgE and IgG4 in peanut-sensitized children in relation to severity of peanut allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2008;121(3):737-43)),((Lam HY, van Hoffen E, Michelsen A, Guikers K, van der Tas CH, Bruijnzeel-Koomen CA, Knulst AC. Cow’s milk allergy in adults is rare but severe: both casein and whey proteins are involved. Clin Exp Allergy 2008;38(6):995-1002)). From these patients, data are available with respect to:
- Specific serum IgE to allergen extract or to major allergens (CAP, immunoblot, peptide array)
In routine diagnosis, serum IgE towards allergen extracts is measured. It has been shown that specific major allergens in food or towards specific epitopes within these allergens can be associated with the severity of clinical symptoms. Therefore, IgE reactivity towards major allergens is investigated for its predictive value for presence/absence or severity of symptoms.
- Skin prick test (SPT) using allergen extract or major allergens:
In routine diagnosis, allergen extracts are used to perform the SPT. As for serum IgE, the use of major allergens to improve the predictive value for presence/absence or severity of symptoms is being analyzed.
- Double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC):
The sensitivity and specificity of CAP and SPT are low. About half of the patients with a positive CAP or SPT do not have clinical symptoms. The DBPCFC is the gold standard to determine the clinical relevance of sensitization.