[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are wide differences in estimated incidence and prevalence of anaphylaxis because of the absence, until recently, of a universal consensus on the definition of anaphylaxis and the different source of collected data. We aimed to estimate the incidence of food anaphylaxis based on the database of Piemonte Region (Italy) Reference Center for Severe Allergic Reactions. All cases of severe food allergic reactions reported in 2010 were studied. Clinical data associated to the reports were evaluated according to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network diagnostic criteria of anaphylaxis. 75 % of the 778 cases were classified as food anaphylaxis (incidence of 13/100,000 person-years, ranging from 9.9 in adults to 29/100,000 person-years in children). Nuts were the most frequent foods causing anaphylaxis. Milk and eggs were responsible for anaphylaxis more often in children, while peach, vegetables and crustaceans were in adults. Cardiovascular symptoms were more frequent in adults. Gastrointestinal involvement was more frequent in children. A high prevalence of respiratory allergic comorbidities was observed. Food is an important cause of anaphylaxis, particularly in subjects with respiratory allergic comorbidities. Children and adults differ in triggers and clinical presentation of anaphylaxis.
Internal and Emergency Medicine 07/2013; · 2.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:
Anisakis simplex (As), a parasite in fish, is able to sensitize humans via the alimentary tract. The prevalence of hypersensitivity and allergy to As outside the Iberian peninsula has not been investigated so far. We investigated Anisakis hypersensitivity in different areas of Italy.
Consecutive subjects seen at 34 Italian allergy centers from October to December 2010 were investigated both by specific interview and by skin prick test (SPT) with As extract.
A total of 10 570 subjects were screened, of which 474 (4.5%) scored positive on Anisakis SPT and 66 of these (14% of those sensitized; 0.6% of the studied population) had a history of As allergy. Marinated anchovies were the most frequent cause of allergic reactions. Thirty-four (52%) patients were mono-sensitized to Anisakis. Sensitization rate showed marked geographic differences (range: 0.4-12.7%), being highest along the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian coasts, where homemade marinated anchovies are an age-old tradition. In inland centers in northern Italy, the prevalence was directly related to the number of inhabitants. The analysis of the impact of immigration on the prevalence of Anisakis hypersensitivity showed that about 60% of sensitized subjects in Milano and Torino came from southern Italy or from non-European countries.
Anisakis hypersensitivity and allergy are mainly a matter of dietary habits. Areas where marinated anchovies are popular can be considered as 'endemic' for this type of food allergy, whereas immigration and, possibly, new or imported trendy food styles, such as eating raw fish carpaccios or sushi, are a major causative factor in big cities of inland zones.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Shrimp is a frequent cause of food allergy worldwide. Besides tropomyosin, several allergens have been described recently.
We investigated which allergens are involved in Italian shrimp-allergic adults.
Sera from 116 shrimp-allergic patients selected in 14 Italian allergy centers were studied. Skin prick tests with house dust mite (HDM) as well as measurements of IgE to Pen a 1 (shrimp tropomyosin) and whole shrimp extract were performed. All sera underwent shrimp immunoblot analysis, and inhibition experiments using HDM extract as inhibitor were carried out on some Pen a 1-negative sera.
Immunoblots showed much variability. IgE reactivity at about 30 kDa (tropomyosin) was found in <50% of cases, and reactivity at about 67 kDa and >90 kDa was frequent. Further reactivities at 14-18, 25, 43-50, about 60 and about 80 kDa were detected. Most subjects had a history of shrimp-induced systemic symptoms irrespective of the relevant allergen protein. IgE to Pen a 1 were detected in sera from 46 (41%) patients. Skin reactivity to HDM was found in 43/61 (70%) Pen 1-negative subjects and inhibition studies showed that pre-adsorption of sera with HDM extract induced a marked weakening of the signal at >67 kDa.
Several allergens other than tropomyosin are involved in shrimp allergy in adult Italian patients. Some hitherto not described high molecular weight allergens seem particularly relevant in this population and their cross-reactivity with HDM allergens makes them novel potential panallergens of invertebrates.
International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 09/2011; 157(1):3-10. · 2.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Buckwheat allergy is a rare food allergy in Europe and North America, whereas it is often described and studied in Asia. The aim of this study was to describe a series of patients with proven buckwheat allergy evaluated in an Italian allergy clinic. Co-sensitization to other food and inhalant allergens and immunoblotting profiles of buckwheat-allergic patients were studied.
Patients with suspected buckwheat allergy who attended the allergy clinic between January 1, 2006, and September 30, 2008, were evaluated. All patients underwent skin prick tests for a standard panel of inhalant and food allergens, prick-by-prick with buckwheat flour, buckwheat-specific IgE determinations, and double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC) with buckwheat flour. Immunoblotting with buckwheat flour extract was performed on sera from buckwheat-allergic patients.
Among 72 patients with suspected buckwheat allergy, 30 (41.7%) were sensitized to buckwheat and 24 had a positive DBPCFC. The mean buckwheat IgE level was 6.23 kUA/l (range, 0.16 to >100 kUA/l). Several IgE-binding proteins were identified and grouped into three patterns: a 16-kDa band in patients with predominantly gastrointestinal symptoms with grass and wheat flour co-sensitization, a 25-kDa band in patients with predominantly cutaneous symptoms and a low frequency of co-sensitization, and a 40-kDa band in patients with anaphylaxis and a low frequency of co-sensitization.
Buckwheat allergy is an emerging food allergy in Italy. We identified three distinct patterns of clinical and laboratory characteristics, suggesting that specific allergens could be more frequently associated with clinical manifestations of different severity.
Journal of investigational allergology & clinical immunology: official organ of the International Association of Asthmology (INTERASMA) and Sociedad Latinoamericana de Alergia e Inmunología 01/2011; 21(7):576-7. · 1.89 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lipid transfer protein (LTP), the most frequent cause of primary food allergy in Italy, is a cross-reacting plant pan-allergen. Markers able to predict whether a patient sensitized to a certain food but not yet clinically allergic will develop allergy would be extremely helpful.
It was the aim of this study to investigate the relevance of IgE levels to some plant foods other than Rosaceae as predictors of either local or systemic allergic reaction in LTP-allergic subjects.
One hundred (40 males, 60 females , mean age 29 years) peach-allergic patients monosensitized to LTP seen at 14 Italian centres in 2009 were studied. Walnut, hazelnut, peanut, tomato, rice and/or maize allergy was ascertained by interview and confirmed by positive skin prick test. IgE levels to these foods and to rPru p 3 were measured.
Higher levels of IgE to Pru p 3 were associated with a higher prevalence of allergy to hazelnut, peanut and walnut. For all study foods, except rice, median IgE levels in allergic subjects significantly exceeded those in tolerant subjects, though within single allergic groups, the differences between patients reporting systemic or local (oral) symptoms were not significant. Ninety-five percent cut-off IgE levels predictive of clinical allergy were established for study foods although the marked overlaps between allergic and tolerant subjects made them of limited usefulness.
Specific IgE levels are only partially predictive of clinical allergy. The reasons why some individuals showing low specific IgE levels develop clinical allergy whereas others showing high IgE levels do not, despite similar exposure to the allergen, remain unclear.
International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 12/2010; 155(2):149-54. · 2.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epinephrine is the treatment of choice for acute food-allergic reactions but existing guidelines state that it should be prescribed uniquely to patients who already experienced at least one food-induced anaphylactic episode.
We investigated whether in Italy epinephrine auto-injector is prescribed uniquely following the existing guidelines only, or is allergen-informed as well (i.e., based on the potential risk associated with sensitization to certain food allergens), and hence preventive.
1110 adult patients (mean age 31 years; M/F 391/719) with food allergy seen at 19 allergy outpatient clinics were studied. Patients with a history of probable anaphylaxis were identified. Subjects were classified as having primary (type 1) and/or secondary (type 2) food allergy and were divided into several subgroups based on the offending allergen/food. Epinephrine prescriptions were recorded and analyzed both as a whole and by sensitizing allergen.
Epinephrine was prescribed to 138/1100 (13%) patients with a significant difference between subjects with type-1 and type-2 food allergy (132/522 [25%] vs. 6/629 [1%]; p < 0.001). The epinephrine group included most patients with a history of anaphylaxis (55/62 [89%]) or emergency department visits 106/138 (77%). In some specific subsets, namely fish-, tree nuts-, and lipid trasfer protein (LTP)-allergic patients, epinephrine was prescribed to patients without a history of systemic allergic reactions.
Italian allergy specialists prescribe epinephrine auto-injectors both on the basis of clinical history of severe reactions and on a critical analysis of the hazard associated with the relevant protein allergens, which suggests a good knowledge of allergens as well as acquaintance with the guidelines for prescription of emergency medication.
European annals of allergy and clinical immunology 02/2010; 42(1):25-31.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reliable clinical or laboratory markers of chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU) duration are not available. Angioedema, autologous serum skin test (ASST) results, and antithyroid antibodies have been inconsistently associated with longer urticaria duration.
To investigate the association of clinical and laboratory parameters with CIU duration, including systemic hypertension, because activation of the coagulation cascade pathway may contribute to the pathogenesis of CIU.
We performed a prospective study of a cohort of 228 consecutive adult patients with CIU of moderate to severe intensity referred to 2 outpatient allergy clinics and followed up for a 3- to 5-year period. The association of clinical and laboratory parameters (sex, atopy, markers of autoimmunity, antithyroid antibodies, positive ASST result, Helicobacter pylori infection, and hypertension) with urticaria duration was analyzed using semiparametric multivariable proportional hazards models (Cox regression) using remission as main outcome measure.
Apart from systemic hypertension (hazard ratio, 0.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.53-0.95; P = .02), none of the considered parameters influenced CIU remission of our patients; 74% and 54% of our patients with and without hypertension, respectively, still had CIU after 5 years.
Our results show, for the first time to our knowledge, that hypertension is associated with extended duration of CIU. This observation, together with the previous findings that point to vascular and coagulation involvement in CIU, may suggest a new approach to antihistamine-refractory CIU treatment, including adequate treatment of hypertension.
Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology: official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology 11/2009; 103(5):407-10. · 3.45 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Data about food-induced anaphylaxis in Italy are missing. Objective: It was the aim of this study to detect the main foods/food allergens causing anaphylaxis in Italy.
The frequency of anaphylaxis and the relative importance of many offending foods were assessed in 1,110 adult patients with food allergy diagnosed by common criteria at 19 allergy centres scattered throughout Italy from 1 January to 31 December 2007.
Fifty-eight of 1,110 (5%) food-allergic patients experienced at least 1 episode of anaphylaxis. On average, they were older than other food-allergic patients (34 vs. 31 years; p < 0.05). The majority of anaphylactic episodes occurred in patients sensitized to lipid transfer protein (LTP; n = 19), followed by shrimp (n = 10), tree nuts (n = 9), legumes other than peanut (n = 4), and seeds (n = 2); peanut, spinach, celery, buckwheat, wheat, avocado, tomato, fish, meat, and Anisakis caused an anaphylactic reaction in single patients. Among LTP-hypersensitive patients, peach caused 13/19 anaphylactic episodes. Shrimp-allergic patients were significantly older than other patients with food-induced anaphylaxis (p < 0.05), whereas patients allergic to LTP experienced their anaphylactic episodes at a younger age (p < 0.001). The frequency of anaphylaxis among patients sensitized to LTP, shrimp or tree nuts did not differ between northern and central/southern Italy.
LTP is the most important allergen causing food-induced anaphylaxis in Italy, peach being the most frequently offending food. Peanut-induced anaphylaxis seems very uncommon. Geographic and environmental differences both between Italy and other countries and within Italy seem to play a relevant role in the pattern of sensitization to foods.
International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 06/2009; 150(3):271-7. · 2.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies of the prevalence of different types of food allergy in adults are lacking.
To define the prevalence of IgE-mediated food allergies in Italian adults attending allergy clinics and to assess possible differences associated with geographical position and/or dietary habits.
Seventeen allergy outpatient clinics scattered throughout Italy participated to a multi-centre study in 2007. The number of atopic subjects and of food allergic patients along with clinical features were recorded by pre-defined criteria. Patients with unequivocal history of food allergy confirmed by positive skin prick test were included as cases.
Twenty five thousand six hundred and one subjects were screened; 12,739 (50%) were atopic, and 1079 (8,5%) had IgE-mediated food allergy. Sixty four percent of patients were females. Overall, the most frequent food allergy was the pollen-food allergy syndrome (55%), which was associated with oral allergy syndrome in 95% of cases and whose frequency decreased southbound. Forty-five percent of patients had a type 1 food allergy, in most cases (72%) caused by fruits and vegetables, and generally associated with a history of systemic symptoms. Type 1 food allergies represented 96% of food allergies in the South. Lipid transfer protein (LTP) accounted for 60% of sensitizations and caused most primary food allergies in all areas.
Plant-derived foods cause most food allergies in Italian adults. The pollen-food allergy syndrome is the most frequent type of food allergy followed by allergy to LTP whose frequency increases southbound. The pattern of allergy to certain foods is clearly influenced by specific geographic features such as pollen exposure and dietary habits.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role that nasal nitric oxide (nNO) plays in sinonasal diseases is increasingly appreciated.
To test the diagnostic value of measuring nNO levels in a symptomatic population undergoing evaluation for potential chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).
Of the patients referred to an outpatient allergy clinic for persistent nasal symptoms, those reporting nasal blockage plus 1 or more additional symptoms (discolored discharge, anterior or postnasal drip, facial pain or pressure, and reduction or loss of smell) were categorized as having CRS according to sinus computed tomography scores, with (CRSwNP) and without (CRSsNP) nasal polyps on the basis of endoscopic signs. All the included patients underwent nNO measurement and skin prick tests for common inhalant allergens. Healthy individuals served as controls for nNO measurement.
Levels of nNO were significantly lower in patients with CRSwNP (median, 340 ppb; 25th-75th percentile, 145-390 ppb) compared with patients with CRSsNP (762 ppb; 620-1,013 ppb), patients without CRS (917 ppb; 647-1,159 ppb), and controls (843 ppb; 762-962 ppb) (P < .001). Low values of nNO separated very well patients with CRSwNP, and the nNO cutoff value of less than 442 ppb was associated with the best combination of specificity (91%) and sensitivity (87%), resulting in a negative predictive value of 91% and a positive predictive value of 87%. A significant inverse relationship was observed between nNO level and sinus computed tomography score (r2 = -0.39, P < .001).
Testing for nNO is highly predictive of CRSwNP in a selected population of patients with symptoms suggestive of CRS.
Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology: official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology 10/2008; 101(4):358-62. · 3.45 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The link between upper and lower respiratory airways has been investigated in the past decade leading to the concept of united airways disease. This hypothesis was suggested by several epidemiological observations, which had shown the high prevalence of rhinitis and sinusitis in patients with asthma, and indirectly, by observing the effects of drugs used for rhinitis on asthma symptoms. A broad spectrum of airway involvement severity can be associated with rhinitis or rhinosinusitis: from a subclinical/asymptomatic inflammatory involvement with an increase in eosinophils in induced sputum cell count, to asthma-like symptoms without functional features of asthma with or without extrathoracic airway hyperresponsiveness, to respiratory symptoms with clinical and functional criteria of asthma. The aim of this paper is to review the literature about the role of breath analysis in the relationship between nose and lung, focusing on exhaled nitric oxide (FE(NO)) measurement, a non-invasive marker of inflammation, in rhinitis and in chronic rhinosinusitis in patients complaining or not of asthma symptoms.
Journal of Breath Research 12/2007; 1(2):024003. · 2.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rhinitis and asthma represent the manifestation of one syndrome. Our hypothesis is that in patients with symptoms of persistent rhinitis, lower airway inflammation, lower respiratory symptoms, and lung function abnormalities compatible with asthma are more frequently associated with the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis (AR) and chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) than with nonallergic rhinitis (NAR).
One hundred eight of 590 consecutive patients referred in 1 year for rhinitis were enrolled on the basis of nasal symptoms lasting > 4 weeks. Asthma was diagnosed on the basis of symptoms and a positive bronchodilation testing result and/or methacholine hyperresponsiveness. Exhaled nitric oxide (Feno) was measured with the single exhalation method at 50 mL/s.
AR was diagnosed in 39%, NAR in 21%, and CRS in 40%. The prevalence of asthma was significantly higher in AR patients (33%) and CRS patients (42%) than in NAR patients (8.7%) [p = 0.036 and p = 0.005, respectively]. Feno was significantly higher in patients with AR and CRS compared to patients with NAR (44.3 parts per billion [ppb]; 95% confidence interval [CI], 34 to 54 ppb; and 53 ppb; 95% CI, 42 to 64 ppb; vs 22 ppb; 95% CI, 18 to 27 ppb; p = 0.002 and p = 0.001, respectively). Patients with asthma had Feno values significantly higher than patients without asthma (64 ppb; 95% CI, 51 to 77 ppb; vs 33.3 ppb; 95% CI, 28 to 39 ppb; p < 0.001).
The diagnostic classification of persistent rhinitis helps to predict lower airway inflammation (increased Feno) and prevalence of asthma: AR and CRS are associated with higher mean Feno values and higher prevalence of asthma than NAR.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A 20-year-old woman developed anaphylaxis after eating pizza on 4 different occasions in 2 restaurants. Both restaurants made their pizza dough with a mixture of wheat and buckwheat flours. A prick-to-prick test with buckwheat flour was positive. Skin prick tests and specific immunoglobulin E responses to soybean and peanut were weakly positive while the response to buckwheat was negative. We ruled out a pathogenic role for peanut and soybean because the patient usually eats both with no signs of allergic reaction. Double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges with buckwheat flour were positive after the administration of a cumulative dose of 2.3 g of the culprit flour. To our knowledge, our report describes the first case of anaphylaxis after intake of buckwheat flour as the hidden allergen in pizza dough.
Journal of investigational allergology & clinical immunology: official organ of the International Association of Asthmology (INTERASMA) and Sociedad Latinoamericana de Alergia e Inmunología 02/2007; 17(4):261-3. · 1.89 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rhinitis is a major risk factor for asthma, so that evaluation of the lower airways is recommended in patients with rhinitis. Exhaled nitric oxide (FE(NO)) is considered a marker of airway inflammation and it has been found to be useful for the screening of patients with suspected diagnosis of asthma. Our aim was to assess the validity and accuracy of FE(NO) to identify patients with asthma in 48 non-smoking patients with persistent rhinitis and asthma-like symptoms.
Asthma was diagnosed on the basis of 12% improvement in FEV1 after salbutamol or a methocholine PD(20)FEV1<800 microg. Prior to lung function FE(NO) was measured with the single exhalation method at 50 ml/s.
The geometric mean (95% confidence interval) FE(NO) was significantly higher in the 18/48 asthmatics than in the non-asthmatic patients (60 ppb, CI 95%: 50-89, versus 30 ppb, CI 95%: 28-45, P=0.001). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for the diagnosis of asthma indicated that FE(NO) is an acceptable discriminator between patients with and without asthma (area under the ROC curve=0.78). None of the asthmatic patients had FE(NO) values<25 ppb and all the patients with FE(NO)>100 ppb (n=5) were asthmatics. The sensitivity and specificity of FE(NO) for detecting asthma, using 36 ppb as cut-off point, were 78% and 60% and the positive and negative predictive values were 54% and 82%, respectively.
Measuring FE(NO) may be useful for the screening of rhinitic patients with asthma-like symptoms.
Respiratory Medicine 12/2006; 100(11):1981-7. · 2.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide (NO) seems to play an important pathophysiologic role in modulating the systemic changes associated with anaphylaxis. Even if some effects of NO may be protective, animal models of anaphylaxis have shown that the summation effects of NO are deleterious, resulting in hypotension and loss of intravascular volume. There are no studies of NO production during anaphylaxis in humans.
To measure the level of exhaled NO during anaphylaxis induced by bee venom cluster immunotherapy in a 34-year-old beekeeper.
Exhaled NO was measured using a chemiluminescence analyzer at different flow rates, and alveolar NO concentration and airway NO production were calculated.
We measured a high level of exhaled NO (78 ppb at 50 mL/s, with increased alveolar concentration and airway production) during anaphylaxis induced by bee venom immunotherapy in this patient. Normal values of exhaled NO were measured in the same patient 1 week later before and after a modified regimen of desensitization.
Nitric oxide production was increased in the respiratory tract during anaphylaxis. Having excluded all the common causes of increased exhaled NO levels, these resultssupport the hypothesis that NO plays an important role in anaphylaxis.
Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology: official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology 09/2006; 97(2):264-5. · 3.45 Impact Factor