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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1992 Mar;89(3):730-7.

Fish hypersensitivity. I. In vitro and oral challenge results in fish-allergic patients.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether patients allergic to one fish species can safely eat other fish species. Eleven atopic, food-allergic children and young adults with histories consistent with IgE-mediated fish hypersensitivity were skin prick tested to 10 fish species. Skin prick tests (SPTs) were positive to all 10 fish in eight of the 11 patients, and the remaining three patients had at least two positive fish SPTs. Positive oral challenges occurred to only one fish in seven of the patients, to two fish species in one patient, and to three fish species in two patients. One patient did not react to any of the fish tested. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunoblot analyses were performed on raw and cooked protein extracts from nine of the 10 fish species used in SPTs. Several protein bands in the raw-fish extracts appeared to denature with cooking and form high molecular weight conglomerates. Immunoblot analyses with sera from documented fish-allergic patients demonstrated specific IgE binding to protein bands from fish to which patients were not clinically allergic, as determined by oral challenge. In ELISA-inhibition assays, the concentration of fish antigen required to achieve 50% inhibition was similar for fish to which the patients were clinically allergic as compared to fish to which they were clinically tolerant. SPT and in vitro evidence of IgE-specific cross-reactivity does not necessarily correlate with symptomatic fish allergy. In addition, these fish-hypersensitive patients were able to consume one or more other fish species without adverse allergic reactions.

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