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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1996 May;97(5):1100-9.

Skin testing with recombinant allergens rBet v 1 and birch profilin, rBet v 2: diagnostic value for birch pollen and associated allergies.

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  • 1Pavillon Laennec, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, France.



This study assesses the value of two recombinant birch allergens for diagnosis of patients sensitized to birch pollen with or without associated food allergy.


Fifty-one patients with positive skin test responses to Betulaceae and seven nonallergic control subjects were investigated; specific IgE antibodies were evaluated by specific immunoassay and blot immunodetection.


Among 51 patients, 47 reacted to rBet v 1 and 10 to rBet v 2. Seven patients reacted to both recombinant allergens. In skin prick tests we found a correlation between the wheal produced by the commercial birch extract and the wheal produced by rBet v 1. Among 47 patients with positive test responses to rBet v 1, 83% had IgE binding to the Bet v 1 protein as determined by immunoblotting. Among 10 patients sensitized to rBet v 2, six had IgE binding to Bet v 2. Eleven patients with negative results, as determined by immunoblotting, had low levels of birch IgE in the sera (less than 10 kU/L) and low concentrations of IgE to rBet v 1 or rBet v 2 in ELISA. The nonallergic control subjects (n = 7) did not react to rBet v 1 or rBet v 2 in skin prick tests, nor did they have detectable amounts of specific IgE to rBet v 1 or rBet v 2. Histamine release tests confirmed sensitization to Bet v 1 in two patients with discordant results; for Bet v 2, one patient had positive results only at a high concentration, and one had results that remained negative. Thirty-four patients had birch pollinosis, and all reacted to rBet v 1. Patients who were monosensitized to birch never reacted to rBet v 2. Sensitization to rBet v 2 was only found in patients who reacted to other pollens (mainly grass). Twenty-nine patients demonstrated allergy to apples, cherries, or hazelnuts; and all reacted to rBet v 1. Among 11 patients with allergy to Umbelliferae, only three reacted to rBet v 2.


Use of the two recombinant allergens (rBet v 1 and rBet v 2) always permits the diagnosis of birch sensitization. Sensitization to rBet v 1 is specific for birch and Rosaceae allergies, whereas sensitization to birch profilin, Bet v 2, is encountered in multisensitized subjects and is not always related to Umbelliferae allergy.

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