Identification of the allergenic components of kiwi fruit and evaluation of their crossreactivity with timothy and birch pollens

Elide A. Pastorello, Valerio Pravettoni, Marco Ispano, Laura Farioli, Raffaella Ansaloni, Federica Rotondo, Cristoforo Incorvaia, Ingegerd Åsman, Anders Bengtsson, Claudio Ortolani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Only a few food allergens have as yet been identified, mainly because of the difficulty of obtaining a sufficient number of patients who are clinically sensitized to a given food. This is more feasible in the case of the oral allergy syndrome (OAS), a common form of food allergy, which is especially prevalent in patients with pollinosis. Objective: We designed a study to identify the allergens of kiwi fruit (Actinidia chinensis) by analyzing the sera of patients with OAS for kiwi and to examine the cross-reactivity of these allergens with timothy and birch pollen allergens. Methods: Twenty-seven patients with OAS for kiwi, a positive skin prick test response and serum IgE antibody to kiwi, and a positive open kiwi challenge test result and three patients who had OAS with severe systemic symptoms, which excluded a challenge test, were included in this study. The different polypeptide components of an extract of fresh kiwi were separated by sodium dodecylsulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and analyzed by IgE immunoblotting with sera from these patients. Cross-reactivity with the two pollen extracts was assessed by inhibition of the immunoblots with pooled and individual patients' sera. Results: Twelve IgE-binding components with molecular weights ranging from 12 to 64 kd were identified in the kiwi extract, but only a 30 kd component acted as major allergen, being recognized by sera of 100% of these patients. Inhibition of kiwi immunoblots with timothy and birch pollen extracts demonstrated strong cross-reactivity with some of the kiwi allergens, suggesting complete identity between certain food and pollen allergens; whereas others, particularly the 30 kd allergen, were only partially inhibited, suggesting much weaker crossreactivity. Conclusions: Kiwi fruit contains a large number of allergens widely cross-reacting with allergens in grass and birch pollen extracts. Nevertheless, the major allergen at 30 kd appears to be specific for kiwi.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-610
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Birch
  • Cross-allergenidty
  • Food allergy
  • Immunoblotting
  • Kiwi
  • Oral allergy syndrome
  • Timothy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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