Shiitake mushroom (Lentinus edodes): A poorly known allergen in Western countries responsible for severe work-related asthma

Valerio Pravettoni, Laura Primavesi, Marta Piantanida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the IgE-mediated pathogenesis of severe asthma presented by a patient only after handling shiitake (Lentinus edodes) mushrooms (SM).

Material and Methods: Skin tests were performed using in-house extracts from mushrooms that the patient usually handled, i.e., shiitake, porcini, oyster and black fungus mushroom varieties. Specific IgE to champignons and various molds were determined. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) immunoblotting was performed to detect IgE-binding components. Four negative controls were included in the study.

Results: Skin prick tests performed with in-house mushroom extracts from varieties other than shiitake were completely negative, in contrast to the positive test obtained for shiitake mushrooms. Serum specific IgE levels for common molds and champignons were all negative. SDS-PAGE revealed many protein bands in the four mushroom extracts. Immunoblotting using the patient’s serum showed allergenic bands at about 15 and 24 kDa exclusively for SM that were not shared with negative controls. Another faint band was detectable at approximately 37 kDa for SM and porcini varieties.

Conclusions: Here, we present the first European case of SM-induced occupational asthma, a disease more frequently occurring in Asia. Asthma attacks stopped when the patient avoided contact with shiitake mushrooms. No skin reactions and no IgE-binding proteins by immunoblotting were detectable with the other mushrooms tested. The positive skin test with shiitake mushrooms and IgE-binding components in the shiitake extract confirmed the IgE-mediated etiology of the reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-874
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 17 2014


  • Asthma
  • IgE-immunoblotting
  • Mushroom allergy
  • Occupational disease
  • Shiitake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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