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Allergenicity of milk protein hydrolysate formulae in children with cow's milk allergy


Cow's milk protein hydrolysate formulae have been developed to lower or eliminate the allergenicity of cow's milk proteins, and to reduce the antigenic load and the risk of sensitization. Cross-reactivity between different hydrolysate formulae and cow's milk proteins has been demonstrated. We have studied 20 children (median age 31 months, range 15–76 months) with a history of IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy. All the children had immediate allergic respiratory and/or cutaneous and/or gastro-intestinal reactions to cow's milk ingestion. In addition, the children had positive prick skin tests and positive RAST to cow's milk. Prick skin test, RAST, and double-blind placebo controlled food challenges were performed with three different hydrolysate formulae: a casein hydrolysate formula and two whey formulae, one partially and one extensively hydrolyzed. All 20 children had immediate allergic reactions after the challenge test with cow's milk. Only 2/20 children had a positive challenge test with a casein hydrolysate formula (Alimentum): one developed asthma and one urticaria. Two of the 15 children challenged with an extensively hydrolysed whey formula (Profylac) developed perioral erythema. Nine out of 20 children had a positive challenge test with a partially hydrolysed whey formula (Nidina H.A.): four developed asthma, three urticaria and two lip oedema. All children had positive prick skin tests to cow's milk proteins (casein and/or lactalbumin); 9 to Nidina H.A.; 3 to Profylac, and 3 to Alimentum. Specific IgE antibodies to cow's milk were present in all children; in 13 to Nidina H.A., in 4 to Profylac, and in 3 to Alimentum.

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cow's milk


cow's milk allergy


double-blind placebo controlled food challenge


hydrolysate formula


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Ragno, V., Giampietro, P.G., Bruno, G. et al. Allergenicity of milk protein hydrolysate formulae in children with cow's milk allergy. Eur J Pediatr 152, 760–762 (1993).

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Key words

  • Allergenicity
  • Cow's milk allergy
  • Cow's milk protein hydrolysate formulae