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Trends Parasitol. 2012 Jan;28(1):9-15. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Nov 11.

The Anisakis allergy debate: does an evolutionary approach help?

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Servicio de Alergia, Instituto de InvestigaciĆ³n Sanitaria, Hospital Universitario de la Princesa, Madrid, Spain.


Allergic phenomena share common pathways with the immune response against helminth parasites. The definitions regarding allergens and their related concepts have their roots in the area of allergy research. The experience with the fish parasite Anisakis simplex-associated allergic features still nurtures an open debate on the necessity of larvae being alive to induce allergic reactions such as urticaria or anaphylaxis. Conceptual definitions of allergen, major allergen, as well as putatively crossreacting antibodies, as are used in food allergy, depend on the clinical relevance of specific IgE and deserve careful interpretation in the various forms of A. simplex-associated allergic features. Conversely, an evolutionary based interpretation of the presence of specific IgE depends on the viability of A. simplex.

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