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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2000 Sep;85(3):215-8.

Asthma and rhinitis induced by exposure to raw green beans and chards.

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Servicio de Alergia, Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain.



Although the vast majority of IgE-mediated allergic reactions to foods occurs through ingestion, a few cases of unexpected allergic reactions to foods may occur through the exposure to airborne food allergen particles.


Case reports. Skin prick tests and serum-specific IgE (CAP-FEIA) were used to identify specific IgE antibodies. Bronchial provocation tests were performed to determine the clinical relevance of inhaled exposure to raw and cooked green beans and raw chards. After demonstrating specific reactivity to them, SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting of raw and cooked green beans were carried out to identify relevant antigens.


Three women developed bronchial asthma and rhinitis after exposure to raw green beans, and one of them also when exposed to raw chards. All women tolerated ingestion of green beans. Patients reported multiple episodes while handling these vegetables for cooking activities. Allergy to green beans and chards was demonstrated by skin testing and serum-specific IgE. Bronchial challenge test with these allergens showed positive responses to raw, but not cooked, green beans and chards. Oral food challenges with green beans (raw and cooked) and chards were negative in all patients. In order to further characterize the allergenic components of these extracts, SDS-PAGE and electroblotting studies were also performed. Immunoblots of raw and cooked green beans extract showed two IgE-binding bands with apparent molecular weights of 41.1 and 70.6 kD. Interestingly, a 47-kD IgE-binding protein was detected only in raw green bean extracts.


We report three patients who developed asthma and rhinitis caused by exposure to raw, but not to cooked, green beans and chards in a non-occupational environment. Only minor differences of IgE reactivity between nitrocellulose-blotted raw and boiled green bean extract were found.

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