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FOOD ALLERGY (FOOD HYPERSENSITIVITY)

Our immune system has a possibility to recognize and memorize foreign substance and to product IgE antibodies against it,in atopic predisposition persons. Food allergy starts in childhood, but it can begin at any age. Any food can cause an allergic reaction, but the most common food allergens are: eggs, milk,peanuts, soy, fish and shellfish, wheat... Food is a mixture of allergenic proteins that differ in their physicochemical properties, stability to heat, digestion and the potential to induce IgE sensitization. According to the type of immune reaction food hypersensitivity divide into IgE-mediated reaction and non- IgE-mediated reaction (involve cell-mediated mechanism). Heating, generally, decreases protein allergenicity by destroying conformational epitopes, but in peanuts and shrimp heat increase allergenicity. Early IgE antibodies response to foods may predict developing of antibodies to inhalant allergens later in the life. Food alleregies are the first manifestation of atopic phenotip and first step of "allergic marathon". Food hypersensitivity can also divide into primary (independent of pollen sensitization), and secondary (defined as reaction dependent of pollen sensitization). Association between pollen sensitivity and allergy to raw fruits, vegetables and spices are called, now, Pollen Food Syndrome (PFS). These pollens and foods are not botanically related, but share homologous proteins called panallergens (profilin, Lipid Transfer Protein-LTP, Pathogenesis Related Proteins-PRPs). Panallergens are diagnostic markers for polysensitization.

Allergology and Immunology Diagnostic Laboratory of Institute of virology, vaccines and sera, Torlak, Belgrade, Serbia, have a privilege to possess the instrument Phadia 100, Uppsala, Sweden, which is the leader in allergology and immunology diagnostics. Our Laboratory have possibility to determine specific IgE antibodies, for a panel of food allergens, by an in vitro ImmunoCAP method which measures the concentration of circulating aspecific IgE in human serum or plasma. Measurement of specific IgE antibodies is usually used in addition to other diagnostic tests. A definitive clinical diagnosis should not be based on the results of any single diagnostic test, but should only be made by the physician after all clinical and laboratory findings have been evaluated. We also have possibility to detect specific IgE antibodies to some recombinant allergens, as relatively new trends in allergy diagnostics. Recombinant allergens are changed our understanding of the IgE recognition concept, at the molecular level.

Recently advances in technology, improved diagnostic procedures of food allergy. Component Resolved Diagnostics (CRD), using microarray technology, will open new horizons in diagnosing of food allergy. The advantages of this assay lies in diagnostics of individual allergen components. CRD method, offers the possibility to perform a large number of analyses at once and to obtain precise information about the specific allergy component to which the patient is sensitized. So, the next step of Institute Torlak, in future, will be focus on the new diagnostic approaches.
The food may be the friend or the enemy of your health. It is your choice to choose the best option.

Dr Olga VuckovicDr Olga Vučković, clinical immunologist specialist
Head of Allergology and Immunology Diagnostic Laboratory
Institute of virology, vaccines and sera Torlak, Belgrade, Serbia

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