Favorable Prognosis of Wheat Allergy in Adults

J. Scibilia, M. Rossi Carlo, M. Losappio Laura, C. Mirone, L. Farioli, V. Pravettoni, E. A. Pastorello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Wheat ingestion can lead to disorders such as IgE-mediated food allergy and wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA), both of which are associated with impaired quality of life and significant morbidity. Allergy to wheat is relatively benign in children, although its natural history in adults is still unknown. Objective: We used placebo-controlled challenge to evaluate the natural history of wheat hypersensitivity in atopic patients with adultonset wheat allergy. METHODS: We enrolled 13 patients from an initial cohort of adult patients with IgE-mediated wheat allergy (mean age, 40 years). After diagnosis, the patients observed a wheat-free diet and were followed as outpatients for 5 years to evaluate wheat exposure. Wheat-IgEtiters were determined at the end of follow-up, and a second wheat-challenge was performed. RESULTS: Ten out of 13 patients took part in the study. The mean period of wheat avoidance was 4.2 years. Three patients had spontaneously reintroduced wheat before the second evaluation, after a mean (IQR) of 28 (18-36) months, with only mild gastrointestinal discomfort at reintroduction. At the end of follow-up, 9 of the 10 patients were wheat-tolerant. Two patients had a history of WDEIA. We observed a reduction in IgE levels, with median (IQR) IgE falling from 2.77 (0.35-100) kU/L at diagnosis to 0.88 (0.1-20.8) kU/L. The association between IgE and a negative challenge result was not statistically significant. CONCLUSION: IgE-mediated wheat allergy in adults is benign and represents a temporary break in gastrointestinal tolerance. Future studies may improve our knowledge of wheat allergens, routes of and factors leading to sensitization, and prognostic biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-123
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of investigational allergology & clinical immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2019


  • Adult food allergy
  • Double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge
  • Food tolerance
  • Wheat allergy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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