Birch pollen related pear allergy : A single-blind oral challenge trial with 2 pear cultivars

de Jong, Nicolette W.; Terlouw, Severina; van Boven, Frank E.; Maaren, M.S.; Schreurs, Marco W.J.; van den Berg-Somhorst, Dianne B.P.M.; Esser, Diederik; Bastiaan-Net, Shanna


Approximately 70% of birch pollen allergic patients in Europe experience hypersensitivity reactions to Immunoglobulin E (IgE) cross-reactive food sources. This so-called pollen-food syndrome (PFS) is defined by allergic symptoms elicited promptly by the ingestion of fruits, nuts, or vegetables in these patients. So far, in the literature, less attention has been given to Bet v 1 crossreactive symptoms caused by pear (Pyrus communis). In the Netherlands, pears are widely consumed. The primary objective of this study was to measure the type and severity of allergic symptoms during pear challenges in birch pollen allergic patients, with a positive history of pear allergy, using two different pear varieties. Fifteen patients were included, skin prick test (SPT), prick-toprick test (PTP), specific Immunoglobulin E (sIgE), and single-blind oral challenges were performed with two pear (Pyrus communis) varieties: the ‘Cepuna’ (brand name Migo®) and the ‘Conference’ pears. All patients were sensitized to one or both pear varieties. A total of 12 out of 15 participants developed symptoms during the ‘Cepuna’ food challenge and 14/15 reacted during the ‘Conference’ challenge. Challenges with the ‘Cepuna’ pears resulted in less objective symptoms (n = 2) in comparison with challenges with ‘Conference’ pears (n = 7). Although we did not find significance between both varieties in our study, we found a high likelihood of fewer and less severe symptoms during the ‘Cepuna’ challenges. Consequently selected pear sensitized patients can try to consume small doses of the ‘Cepuna’ pear outside the birch pollen season.