Bee venom allergy in beekeepers and their family members
To analyze prevalence of allergic sting reactions, including the clinical and diagnostic features as well as management options in a population heavily exposed to honeybee stings such as beekeepers and their family members.
The higher sting frequency is associated with an increased prevalence of allergic sting reactions. Major risk factors for allergic sting reactions in beekeepers are: fewer than 10 annual stings, an atopic constitution and symptoms of upper respiratory allergy during work in the beehive. Bee venom allergic beekeepers have higher levels of bee venom-specific IgG but lower skin sensitivity and bee venom-specific IgE than normally exposed bee venom allergic patients. Safety of bee venom immunotherapy is higher in beekeepers than in allergic controls, while efficacy of this treatment is similar in both groups.
Beekeepers and their family members are at an increased risk of severe sting anaphylaxis and therefore need especially careful instruction with regard to avoidance of re-exposure, emergency treatment and specific immunotherapy with bee venom.
Available from: Matthias Van Vaerenbergh
- "Honeybee venom (HBV) allergy is the second most frequent form of Hymenoptera venom allergy, observed especially in children, beekeepers and their relatives and other individuals that have a higher risk of being stung (Muller, 2005). HBV allergy is mediated by IgE antibodies specific to protein allergen components present within the venom. "
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ABSTRACT: Api m 10 has recently been established as novel major allergen that is recognized by more than 60% of honeybee venom (HBV) allergic patients. Previous studies suggest Api m 10 protein heterogeneity which may have implications for diagnosis and immunotherapy of HBV allergy. In the present study, RT-PCR revealed the expression of at least nine additional Api m 10 transcript isoforms by the venom glands. Two distinct mechanisms are responsible for the generation of these isoforms: while the previously known variant 2 is produced by an alternative splicing event, novel identified isoforms are intragenic chimeric transcripts. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the identification of chimeric transcripts generated by the honeybee. By a retrospective proteomic analysis we found evidence for the presence of several of these isoforms in the venom proteome. Additionally, we analyzed IgE reactivity to different isoforms by protein array technology using sera from HBV allergic patients, which revealed that IgE recognition of Api m 10 is both isoform- and patient-specific. While it was previously demonstrated that the majority of HBV allergic patients display IgE reactivity to variant 2, our study also shows that some patients lacking IgE antibodies for variant 2 display IgE reactivity to two of the novel identified Api m 10 variants, i.e. variants 3 and 4.
Available from: Tom Wenseleers
- "Third, our analysis revealed the lack of IgG4 recognition of both apidaecin and honey bee Ag5-like protein by the beekeepers' sera. Beekeepers are regularly stung in summer time, which is known to cause a strong venomspecific IgG4 response (Müller, 2005). We are unable to conclude whether this lack in humoral response against both compounds is the result of low immunogenicity, low abundance in the venom and/or low exposure. "
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ABSTRACT: Honey bee venom is a complex mixture of toxic proteins and peptides. In the present study we tried to extend our knowledge of the venom composition using two different approaches. First, worker venom was analysed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and this revealed the antimicrobial peptide apidaecin for the first time in such samples. Its expression in the venom gland was confirmed by reverse transcription PCR and by a peptidomic analysis of the venom apparatus tissue. Second, genome mining revealed a list of proteins with resemblance to known insect allergens or venom toxins, one of which showed homology to proteins of the antigen 5 (Ag5)/Sol i 3 cluster. It was demonstrated that the honey bee Ag5-like gene is expressed by venom gland tissue of winter bees but not of summer bees. Besides this seasonal variation, it shows an interesting spatial expression pattern with additional production in the hypopharyngeal glands, the brains and the midgut. Finally, our immunoblot study revealed that both synthetic apidaecin and the Ag5-like recombinant from bacteria evoke no humoral activity in beekeepers. Also, no IgG4-based cross-reactivity was detected between the honey bee Ag5-like protein and its yellow jacket paralogue Ves v 5.
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