Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 20.05.2022

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Cross Allergy

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Allergological term that plays an important clinical role, particularly in food allergies. Here, an allergen A (e.g. birch pollen) induces sensitization, on the basis of which the allergen B (e.g. apple) can trigger an allergic reaction. A cross-reaction is based on a similarity of molecular structures of different allergens (example: birch - apple).

Significant cross-reactions between plant foods (mod. n. L. Jäger):

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A cross-reaction is caused by an identical or related allergen. This is not surprising in the case of taxonomically related allergen sources (e.g. cereals/grasses; olive/lilac or peach/cherry/plum/apricot). It was shown that for cross-reactivity a sequence identity of > 50% is usually necessary (linear epitopes). Proteins with this degree of similarity have many identical sites on their surface that can act as potential epitopes for cross-reactive antibodies. Cross-reactions are also possible if the 3D structure is similar (conformation, conformational epitope).

Clinically surprising are cross-reactions in taxonomically unrelated structures ( tropomyosin and shrimp/house dust mite mite shellfish syndrome or alpha-livetin and bird-egg synd rome as well as cat-pork syndrome with sensitization to cat serum albumin and cross-reactivity to serum albumin in pork, alpha galactose as ubiquitous sugar in glycoproteins and glycolipids of all mammals but not in humans and various other mammals). monkeys).

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  1. Hausen BM, Vieluf K (1997) Allergy plants, plant allergens. Ecomed Publishing House Landsberg/Munich
  2. Jäger L, Wüthrich B (1998) Food allergies and intolerances. Gustav Fischer, Ulm Stuttgart Jena Lübeck 89-90
  3. Kutting B et al. (2001) House dust mite-crustaceans-molluscs syndrome. A rare variant of food allergy in primary sensitization to inhaled allergens. Dermatologist 52: 708-711
  4. Kleine-Tebbe J et al. (2003) Cross-reactive allergen clusters in pollen-associated food allergy. Dermatologist 54: 130-137
  5. Weber RW (2003) Patterns of pollen cross-allergenicity. J Allergy Clin Immunol 112: 229-239
  6. Heppt, W et al (2011) Practical Allergology DOI: 10.1055/b-0033-3697 Review of important cross-allergies: 409-411.

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Cross reactions in inhalation allergies
Allergy Possible cross reactions


Birch pollen pome and stone fruit, kiwi (fresh) fig, tree nuts, celery, soy, peanut, carrot very often
Birch pollen

Bell pepper, grape, persimmon

Mugwort pollen celery, carrot, camomile, honey, mango, lychee, spices (e.g. caraway, anise, coriander, cumin, curry) occasionally
Profiline (pollen allergen in all pollens)

Many foods, especially melon, banana, tomato, bell pepper, mango, citrus fruits (orange, lemon)

Bird feathers (semi-raw) egg yolk often
Natural latex

kiwi, avocado, banana, bell pepper, fig

Ficus benjamina fig (fresh and dried) often
Ficus benjamina

kiwi, papaya, banana

House dust mite Crustaceans (crabs, shrimps, mussels) rarely
Cat hair Pork meat very rarely


Last updated on: 20.05.2022