A Possible Hypoallergenic Cereal in Wheat Food Allergy and Baker’s Asthma


Background: Wheat is a potent allergen source and is one of the causes of baker’s asthma and food allergy. The best strategy for managing food hypersensitivity involves strict avoidance of the trigger. However, wheat is quite difficult to avoid. Several alternative strategies for the treatment of food allergy are under study. Spelt is a possible hypoallergenic crop that may be tried in patients with wheat allergy. Methods: We have evaluated the allergenic IgE hypersensitivity mediated by spelt in wheat allergic patients. Overall, 66 patients who suffered from baker’s asthma or food allergy (45 males and 21 females, mean age 28.6 ± 12.9 years) were included. We have also compared its reactivity with standard- ized extracts from wheat and with purified non-specific lipid transfer proteins from wheat (Tri a 14) and from peach (Pru p 3). Immunodetection with spelt and common bread wheat extracts (Triticum aestivum, cultivar Astral) was per- formed. Fresh wheat and spelt grain extracts were used both for oral and bronchial challenge and skin tests. Specific IgE detection to different cereals was performed using the Immuno CAP System (Phadia, Uppsala, Sweden). The bronchial challenge was positive with wheat Astral in 44 (67%) patients, all of them suffered from asthma. Thirteen (29.54%) of these 44 patients had negative the challenge with spelt. The oral challenge with wheat Astral was positive in 22 (33%) patients with wheat food allergy, and the same test was positive in only in 6 of them with spelt (27.3%). The diagnostic yield (sensitivity, specificity and predictive values) of routine tests in determining spelt allergy by specific positive challenge responses was determined. Prick tests for spelt versus positive challenge tests had a good sensitivity (94%, 86.5 - 99.4; 95%CI) and specificity (86%, 84 - 90; 95% CI) for the diagnosis of spelt allergy. Immunodetection detected minor differences among different extracts. Conclusion: In summary, the prick test and bronchial and oral challenges both efficiently detected sensitization to spelt and their levels were related to more severe clinical profiles, but the wheal area was significantly lower with spelt (p < 0.001) and the percentage of positive challenge tests decreased. Our results suggest that spelt is an old crop that may be tried in patients with wheat allergy.

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A. Armentia, S. Martín, A. Diaz-Perales, A. Palacín, L. Tordesillas, M. Herrero and B. Martín-Armentia, "A Possible Hypoallergenic Cereal in Wheat Food Allergy and Baker’s Asthma," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 12A, 2012, pp. 1779-1781. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2012.312A217.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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