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Clin Exp Allergy. 2018 Oct 8. doi: 10.1111/cea.13291. [Epub ahead of print]

Can alternative epitope mapping approaches increase the impact of B-cell epitopes in food allergy diagnostics?

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Laboratory of Translational Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Department of Dermatology and Allergology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
EUROIMMUN AG, L├╝beck, Germany.


In vitro allergy diagnostics are currently based on the detection of specific IgE binding on intact allergens or a mixture thereof. This approach has drawbacks as it may yield false-negative and/or false-positive results. Thus, we reviewed the impact of known B-cell epitopes of food allergens to predict transience or persistence, tolerance or allergy and the severity of an allergic reaction and to examine new epitope mapping strategies meant to improve serum-based allergy diagnostics. Recent epitope mapping approaches have been worthwhile in epitope identification and may increase the specificity of allergy diagnostics by using epitopes predominately recognized by allergic patients in some cases. However, these approaches did not lead to discrimination between clinically relevant and irrelevant epitopes so far, since the polyclonal serum IgE-binding epitope spectrum seems to be too individual, independent of the disease status of the patients. New epitope mapping strategies are necessary to overcome these obstacles. The use of patient-derived monoclonal antibodies instead of patient sera for functional characterization of clinically relevant and irrelevant epitope combinations, distinguished by their ability to induce degranulation, might be a promising approach to gain more insight into the allergic reaction and to improve serum-based allergy diagnostics.


B-cell epitopes; epitope mapping; food allergy; monoclonal antibodies


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