Maize food allergy: A double-blind placebo-controlled study

J. Scibilia, E. A. Pastorello, G. Zisa, A. Ottolenghi, B. Ballmer-Weber, V. Pravettoni, E. Scovena, A. Robino, C. Ortolani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Maize allergy is not very common especially in Europe. The number of studies that address IgE mediated maize allergy is all too few. Objective: Evaluate subjects with a history of maize allergy by double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge; identify the spectrum of symptoms manifested during challenge; determine the lowest provocation dose (PD) during challenge; determine the performance characteristics of maize skin prick test and specific IgE. Methods: Twenty-seven patients with a history of maize allergy were enrolled to be evaluated by skin test, specific IgE and double-blind placebo-controlled maize challenge. Results Forty-eight percent of the patients were challenge positive. PD range was 0.1-25 g. Fifty-four percent of the maize allergic subjects had a PD that was ≤2.5 g; two subjects reacted to 100 mg of maize. Comparison of maize specific IgE levels and skin test results to the challenge results revealed the following (specific IgE level/skin testing): sensitivity 1.00/0.846, specificity 0.077/0.384, positive predictive value 0.520/0.579, and negative predictive value 1.00/0.714. Conclusion: Maize is a cause of IgE-mediated allergic reactions to foods in adults and children. Nearly half of the subjects recruited were confirmed by challenge to be allergic to maize. Twenty-three percent of the positive challenge patients manifested symptoms that involved two organ systems, thus fulfilling the criteria for maize induced anaphylaxis. Maize is allergenic and can pose a risk for symptomatic food allergy at a dose of 100 mg.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1943-1949
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • Allergy symptoms
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Corn allergy
  • Double-blind
  • Food allergy
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Maize allergy
  • Performance characteristics
  • Placebo-controlled food challenge
  • Provocation dose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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