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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2012;157(1):3-10. doi: 10.1159/000324470. Epub 2011 Sep 5.

Shrimp allergy in Italian adults: a multicenter study showing a high prevalence of sensitivity to novel high molecular weight allergens.

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Ambulatorio di Allergologia, Clinica San Carlo, Via Ospedale 21, Paderno Dugnano, Italy. r.asero @



Shrimp is a frequent cause of food allergy worldwide. Besides tropomyosin, several allergens have been described recently.


We investigated which allergens are involved in Italian shrimp-allergic adults.


Sera from 116 shrimp-allergic patients selected in 14 Italian allergy centers were studied. Skin prick tests with house dust mite (HDM) as well as measurements of IgE to Pen a 1 (shrimp tropomyosin) and whole shrimp extract were performed. All sera underwent shrimp immunoblot analysis, and inhibition experiments using HDM extract as inhibitor were carried out on some Pen a 1-negative sera.


Immunoblots showed much variability. IgE reactivity at about 30 kDa (tropomyosin) was found in <50% of cases, and reactivity at about 67 kDa and >90 kDa was frequent. Further reactivities at 14-18, 25, 43-50, about 60 and about 80 kDa were detected. Most subjects had a history of shrimp-induced systemic symptoms irrespective of the relevant allergen protein. IgE to Pen a 1 were detected in sera from 46 (41%) patients. Skin reactivity to HDM was found in 43/61 (70%) Pen 1-negative subjects and inhibition studies showed that pre-adsorption of sera with HDM extract induced a marked weakening of the signal at >67 kDa.


Several allergens other than tropomyosin are involved in shrimp allergy in adult Italian patients. Some hitherto not described high molecular weight allergens seem particularly relevant in this population and their cross-reactivity with HDM allergens makes them novel potential panallergens of invertebrates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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