Bee pollen sensitivity in airborne pollen allergic individuals
ABSTRACT Physicians who practice alternative medicine often prescribe bee pollen as a food supplement and a treatment for various ailments.
To determine the qualitative and quantitative composition of bee pollen and to investigate the cutaneous reactivity of atopic patients to bee pollen extracts.
The absolute number of pollen grains per gram of bee pollen was calculated, and morphologic identification of the botanical family was performed. Five extracts of bee pollen were prepared for skin prick testing, according to standard methods. Two hundred two volunteers participated in the study; 145 were atopic patients with respiratory allergy. The remaining 57 were healthy volunteers or nonatopic patients and served as a control group. All participants underwent skin prick testing with a standard battery of 6 aeroallergens (olive, grasses mix, Parietaria, mugwort, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, and Dermatophagoides farinae) and with all homemade bee pollen extracts.
All samples of bee pollen contained Oleaceae pollen in high concentrations. Small amounts of anemophilous pollen (Compositeae, Chenopodiaceae) were detected in various samples. A strong positive correlation was observed between cutaneous reactivity to bee pollen extracts and olive, grasses, and mugwort.
Bee pollen contains a large amount of pollen, which belongs to various allergenic families of plants. Bee pollen retains its allergenic potential as demonstrated by strong cutaneous responses to bee pollen extracts observed in atopic patients in contrast to nonatopic subjects. Regarding pollen allergic individuals, further studies are needed to evaluate the safety of ingesting large amounts of bee pollen.
- Canadian Medical Association Journal 05/2012; 184(10):1167-9. DOI:10.1503/cmaj.112181 · 5.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Bee pollen is pollen granules packed by honey bees and is widely consumed as natural healthy supplements. Bee pollen-induced anaphylaxis has rarely been reported, and its allergenic components have never been studied. A 40-year-old male came to the emergency room with generalized urticaria, facial edema, dyspnea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea 1 hour after ingesting one tablespoon of bee pollen. Oxygen saturation was 91%. His symptoms resolved after injection of epinephrine, chlorpheniramine, and dexamethasone. He had seasonal allergic rhinitis in autumn. Microscopic examination of the bee pollen revealed Japanese hop, chrysanthemum, ragweed, and dandelion pollens. Skin-prick with bee pollen extracts showed positive reactions at 0.1 mg/mL (A/H ratio > 3+). Serum specific IgE to ragweed was 25.2, chrysanthemum 20.6, and dandelion 11.4 kU/L; however, Japanese hop, honey-bee venom and yellow-jacket venom were negative (UniCAP(R), Thermo Fisher Scientific, Uppsala, Sweden). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) confirmed serum specific IgE to bee-pollen extracts, and an ELISA inhibition assay for evaluation of cross-allergenicity of bee pollen and other weed pollens showed more than 90% of inhibition with chrysanthemum and dandelion and ~40% inhibition with ragweed at a concentration of 1 microg/mL. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and IgE-immunoblot analysis revealed 9 protein bands (11, 14, 17, 28, 34, 45, 52, 72, and 90 kDa) and strong IgE binding at 28-34 kDa, 45 and 52 kDa. In conclusion, healthcare providers should be aware of the potential risk of severe allergic reactions upon ingestion of bee pollen, especially in patients with pollen allergy.Allergy, asthma & immunology research 10/2014; 7(5). DOI:10.4168/aair.2015.7.5.513 · 3.08 Impact Factor