HealthDay News — Profilins, considered ubiquitous proteins that act as panallergens in sensitized patients, are complete food allergens in food-allergic patient populations that are exposed to high levels of grass pollen, results of a study in Allergy indicate.

To evaluate the role of profilins as severe food allergens in patients overexposed to grass who were referred for severe food reactions and were sensitized to prolifins, María Isabel Alvarado, from the Hospital Ciudad de Coria in Spain, and colleagues conducted a double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge set-up.

After in vitro screening, 26 patients were enrolled into two groups: mild (n=17) and severe (n=9) reactors, the investigators provoked orally with purified profilin.

A significant number of patients exhibited severe positive food challenge test reactions at low doses of the allergen profilin. Patients who were prone to suffering severe reactions had lower immunoglobulin G4/ immunoglobulin E ratio to major grass allergens compared with those who were not prone to severe reactions.

“The nature of the observed reactions and the low level of allergen eliciting the reactions suggest that intake through the oral mucosa might constitute a relevant route of exposure to food allergens,” concluded the researchers.


  1. Alvarado MI et al. Allergy. 2014; doi: 10.1111/all.12509


Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical company ALK-Abelló, which partially funded the study and provided the palm tree pollen profilin.