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Allergy. 1996 Jun;51(6):387-93.

Asthma after consumption of snails in house-dust-mite-allergic patients: a case of IgE cross-reactivity.

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Central Laboratory of The Netherlands Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


A group of 28 patients from Italy was studied who had asthma after consumption of snail. All patients also had asthma and/or rhinitis caused by house-dust mite. RAST analyses confirmed the combined sensitization to snail and mite. In a few sera, IgE antibodies reactive with other foods of invertebrate origin (mussel and shrimp) were detected. RAST inhibition showed that most IgE antibodies against snail were cross-reactive with house-dust mite. In contrast, the mite RAST was not significantly inhibited by snail. This indicates that house-dust mite was the sensitizing agent. Immunoblot analyses revealed multiple bands in snail extract recognized by IgE. In contrast to what has been described for cross-reactivity between shrimp and mite, tropomyosin played only a minor role as a cross-reactive allergen in these patients. The observations in this study indicate that snail consumption can cause severe asthmatic symptoms in house-dust-mite-allergic patients. It might, therefore, be advisable to screen mite-allergic asthma patients for allergy to snail and other invertebrate animal foods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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