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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Mar;129(3):834-839.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2011.10.045. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Molecular profiles of IgE to Phleum pratense in children with grass pollen allergy: implications for specific immunotherapy.

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  • 1Pediatric Allergology Unit, Sandro Pertini Hospital, Rome, Italy.



The so-called component-resolved immunotherapy of allergies proposes an immunization tailored to the molecular sensitization profiles of individual patients.


We sought (1) to investigate the profiles of IgE sensitization to Phleum pratense in children with grass pollen allergy and (2) to define the compatibility of these profiles with a mixture of recombinant allergenic molecules of P pratense previously proposed for specific immunotherapy.


We examined 200 children (age, 4-18 years; 126 boys) with allergic rhinitis, asthma, or both ascertained through validated questionnaires. Each child underwent skin prick testing (ALK-Abelló) and serum IgE assays (ImmunoCAP, Phadia) with 9 pollen extracts. Sera reacting against P pratense were tested for the individual molecules (rPhl p 1, rPhl p 2, rPhl p 4, nPhl p 4, rPhl p 5b, rPhl p 6, rPhl p 7, rPhl p 11, and Phl p 12). Through a combinatorial approach, the IgE individual sensitization profiles were matched against an experimental allergen-specific immunotherapy (SIT) preparation containing Phl p 1, Phl p 2, Phl p 5, and Phl p 6.


Among the 176 of 200 children with IgE sensitization to P pratense extract, 39 profiles of sensitization to the 8 allergenic molecules tested (cutoff, 0.35 kU/L) were identified. This high heterogeneity was reduced by considering only 6 or 4 P pratense molecules but not by increasing the cutoff levels of IgE positivity. The molecular profile of the experimental SIT preparation matched that of 7 (4%) of 176 patients only; the remaining 169 patients were classified in 4 mismatch categories: underpowered (29%), overpowered (32%), underpowered/overpowered (32%), and unrelated (3%).


IgE sensitization profiles to P pratense are highly heterogeneous. Molecularly designed SIT preparations tailored to patients' needs should consider this high heterogeneity and be driven by locally performed population studies.

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