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Allergy testing: the role of recombinant allergens

Nadine Mothes1 / Rudolf Valenta2 / Susanne Spitzauer3




Corresponding author: Prof. Dr. Susanne Spitzauer, Institut für Medizinische und Chemische Labordiagnostik, AKH, Medizinische Universität Wien, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria Phone: +43-1-40400-5324, Fax: +43-1-40400-5389,

Citation Information: Clinical Chemical Laboratory Medicine. Volume 44, Issue 2, Pages 125–132, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2006.024, February 2006

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Currently, diagnosis of type I allergy is performed using crude allergen extracts, which allow the identification of the allergen-containing source responsible for type I allergic symptoms (e.g., allergic rhino-conjunctivitis, asthma) but not the disease-eliciting molecules. With the introduction of recombinant allergens produced by molecular biology techniques, a large panel of allergenic molecules has become available. The application of these recombinant allergens for in vitro tests has led to new forms of component-resolved diagnosis (CRD) and allows the establishment of a patient's individual reactivity profile. The increasing number of recombinant allergens characterized during the last decade has allowed the development of chip-based allergy tests for simultaneous detection of up to 5000 different allergens and epitopes. The introduction of these recombinant allergen-based tests into clinical practice improves the selection of patients for traditional specific immunotherapy and allows monitoring of the immunological efficacy of specific immunotherapy by measuring allergen-specific IgG antibodies. Besides their diagnostic application, recombinant allergens and hypoallergenic derivatives thereof have also been used as vaccines in clinical trials, and recent results have shown their usefulness for the treatment of type I allergy.

Keywords: component-resolved diagnosis (CRD); cross-sensitization; hypoallergenic derivatives; microarrayed allergens; recombinant allergens; specific immunotherapy; type I allergy

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