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Allergy. 2001 Jan;56(1):73-7.

Identification of carmine allergens among three carmine allergy patients.

Author information

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor 48109-0380, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There have been several reports of carmine allergy; however, identification of the responsible carmine allergens has not been widely documented.

METHODS:

Three female patients presented with a history of anaphylaxis and/or urticaria/angioedema after ingestion of carmine-containing foods. All three patients had 4+ skin prick tests to carmine. Among them, two patients were confirmed to have carmine allergy by blinded, placebo-controlled food challenges to carmine. SDS-PAGE of cochineal insects and carmine, immunoblotting for IgE antibody with sera from all three patients, and immunoblotting inhibition with carmine were performed.

RESULTS:

SDS PAGE of minced cochineal insects revealed several protein bands of 23-88 kDa. Several of these bands were variably recognized by our three patients' sera, and this reactivity was inhibited by carmine. Although no protein bands could be visualized on SDS-PAGE of carmine in Coomassie brilliant blue staining, three protein bands were recognized by two of the three patients' serum.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that commercial carmine retains protein-aceous material from the source insects. These insect-derived proteins (possibly complexed with carminic acid) are responsible for IgE-mediated carmine allergy. Patient reactivity to these proteins may vary.

PMID:
11167356
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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