Allergo Journal International

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 1–16 | Cite as

Food allergies resulting from immunological cross-reactivity with inhalant allergens

Guidelines from the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI), the German Dermatology Society (DDG), the Association of German Allergologists (AeDA) and the Society for Pediatric Allergology and Environmental Medicine (GPA)
  • Margitta WormEmail author
  • Uta Jappe
  • Jörg Kleine-Tebbe
  • Christiane Schäfer
  • Imke Reese
  • Joachim Saloga
  • Regina Treudler
  • Torsten Zuberbier
  • Anja Waßmann
  • Thomas Fuchs
  • Sabine Dölle
  • Martin Raithel
  • Barbara Ballmer-Weber
  • Bodo Niggemann
  • Thomas Werfel


A large proportion of immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated food allergies in older children, adolescents and adults are caused by cross-reactive allergenic structures. Primary sensitization is most commonly to inhalant allergens (e.g. Bet v 1, the major birch pollen allergen). IgE can be activated by various cross-reactive allergens and lead to a variety of clinical manifestations. In general, local and mild — in rare cases also severe and systemic — reactions occur directly after consumption of the food containing the cross-reactive allergen (e. g. plant-derived foods containing proteins of the Bet v 1 family). In clinical practice, sensitization to the primary responsible inhalant and/or food allergen can be detected by skin prick tests and/or in vitro detection of specific IgE. Component-based diagnostic methods can support clinical diagnosis. For individual allergens, these methods may be helpful to estimate the risk of systemic reactions. Confirmation of sensitization by oral provocation testing is important particulary in the case of unclear case history. New, as yet unrecognized allergens can also cause cross-reactions.

The therapeutic potential of specific immunotherapy (SIT) with inhalant allergens and their effect on pollen-associated food allergies is currently unclear: results vary and placebo-controlled trials will be necessary in the future. Pollen allergies are very common. Altogether allergic sensitization to pollen and cross-reactive food allergens are very common in our latitudes. The actual relevance has to be assessed on an individual basis using the clinical information.

Cite this as Worm M, Jappe U, Kleine-Tebbe J, Schäfer C, Reese I, Saloga J, Treudler R, Zuberbier T, Wassmann A, Fuchs T, Dölle S, Raithel M, Ballmer-Weber B, Niggemann B, Werfel T. Food allergies resulting from immunological cross-reactivity with inhalant allergens. Allergo J Int 2014; 23: 1–16 DOI 10.1007/s40629-014-0004-6


Food Allergy Grass Pollen Food Allergen House Dust Mite Pollen Allergy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Atopic dermatitis


Cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants


European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology


Forced expiratory volume in one second


Forced vital capacity


Immunoglobulin E


Immunoglobulin G


Latex-fruit syndrome


Lipid transfer protein


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug


Pathogenesis-related protein family 10


Scoring atopic dermatitis


Specific immunoglobulin E


Specific immunotherapy


Thaumatin-like proteins (PR-5)


Inspiratory vital capacity


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Copyright information

© Urban & Vogel 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margitta Worm
    • 1
    Email author
  • Uta Jappe
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jörg Kleine-Tebbe
    • 4
  • Christiane Schäfer
    • 5
  • Imke Reese
    • 6
  • Joachim Saloga
    • 7
  • Regina Treudler
    • 8
  • Torsten Zuberbier
    • 1
  • Anja Waßmann
    • 9
  • Thomas Fuchs
    • 10
  • Sabine Dölle
    • 1
  • Martin Raithel
    • 11
  • Barbara Ballmer-Weber
    • 12
  • Bodo Niggemann
    • 13
  • Thomas Werfel
    • 14
  1. 1.Allergie-Centrum-Charité Klinik für Dermatologie, Allergologie und Venerologie Charité — Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Klinik für Dermatologie, Allergologie und Venerologie, Universität LübeckGermany
  3. 3.Forschungsgruppe Klinische und Molekulare Allergologie, Forschungszentrum BorstelGermany
  4. 4.Allergie- und Asthma-Zentrum WestendBerlinGermany
  5. 5.Ernährungstherapie, Allergologische SchwerpunktpraxisHamburgGermany
  6. 6.Ernährungsberatung und -therapie, Schwerpunkt AllergologieMünchenGermany
  7. 7.Hautklinik, Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-UniversitätMainzGermany
  8. 8.Klinik für Dermatologie, Venerologie und Allergologie Universität LeipzigGermany
  9. 9.Dermatologisches Ambulatorium Hamburg-AlstertalGermany
  10. 10.Hautklinik, Georg-August-UniversitätGöttingenGermany
  11. 11.Medizinische Klinik für Gastroenterologie, Pneumologie, Endokrinologie, Universitätsklinikum ErlangenGermany
  12. 12.Dermatologische Klinik, Universitätsspital ZürichSwitzerland
  13. 13.Klinik für Pädiatrie, Charité — Universitätsmedizin BerlinGermany
  14. 14.Klinik für Dermatologie, Allergologie und Venerologie, Medizinische Hochschule HannoverGermany

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