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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2001 Feb;86(2):239-42.

Bee pollen-induced anaphylactic reaction in an unknowingly sensitized subject.

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  • 1Division of Allergy-Immunology and the Ernest S. Bazley Asthma and Allergic Diseases Center of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois 60611-3008, USA.



The food supplement bee pollen has been previously found to cause anaphylactic reactions. It has been proposed as useful for "everything from bronchitis to hemorrhoids."


This study describes an atopic patient who experienced a non-life-threatening anaphylactic reaction upon her initial ingestion of bee pollen. Microscopic examination of the pollen sample and ELISA inhibition assays were performed.


The patient had a 7 mm/28 mm wheal/erythema reaction to bee pollen at 1 mg/mL concentration. Bee pollen caused 52% inhibition of IgE binding to short ragweed and 55% to ryegrass. Microscopic analysis revealed ragweed, Alternaria, Cladosporium, honeysuckle (Lonicera sp), privet shrub (Ligustrum sp), and vetch (Vicia sativa).


An unknowingly sensitized atopic patient experienced an anaphylactic reaction after ingestion of a small quantity of bee pollen that contained pollens and fungi. Previously administered allergen immunotherapy that had reduced rhinitis symptoms did not prevent this allergic reaction.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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