Which immunotherapy product is better for patients allergic to Polistes venom? A laboratory and clinical study

Eleonora Savi, Cristoforo Incorvaia, Elisa Boni, Marina Mauro, Silvia Peveri, Valerio Pravettoni, Oliviero Quercia, Federico Reccardini, Marcello Montagni, Laura Pessina, Erminia Ridolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Venom immunotherapy (VIT) is highly effective in preventing allergic reactions to insect stings, but the appropriate venom must be used to achieve clinical protection. In patients with multiple positive results to venoms, molecular allergy diagnostics or CAP-inhibition may identify the causative venom. Concerning allergy to venom from Polistes spp. it has been proposed that only the European species P. dominulus should be used for VIT. However, this recommendation is not present in any international guideline. Using both laboratory and clinical data, we aimed to evaluate the reliability of this proposal. Methods: We performed an in vitro study using CAP-inhibition to determine sensitization of 19 patients allergic to Polistes venom. The clinical study included 191 patients with positive tests to Polistes treated with VIT, 102 were treated with P. dominulus and 89 were treated with a mix of American Polistes (mAP). Results: The difference in % of inhibition was significant concerning inhibition of P. dominulus sIgE by P. dominulus venom (79.8%) compared with inhibition by mAP venom (64.2%) and not significant concerning the inhibition of mAP sIgE by P. dominulus venom (80.1%) and by mAP venom (73.6%). Instead, the clinical protection from stings was not statistically different between the two kinds of venom. Conclusion: The data from CAP inhibition would suggest that the choice of either P. dominulus venom or mAP venom for VIT is appropriate in patients with CAP inhibition higher than 70%, but the clinical data show the same odds of protection from stings using for VIT P. dominulus or mAP venom.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0180270
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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