Author(s): Untersmayr E, Poulsen LK, Platzer MH, Pedersen MH, BoltzNitulescu G
BACKGROUND: In a recent murine study, we showed that impaired gastric digestion supports the induction of fish allergy by protecting the digestion-sensitive major allergen parvalbumin and thus enhancing its sensitizing properties.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether impairment of peptic degradation might also play a role in the effector phase of codfish allergy.
METHODS: The resistance of cod proteins to digestion by simulated gastric fluid was assessed in vitro . Gastric solutions with pH values ranging from 1.25 to 5.0 were prepared, and the influence of the pH on protein degradation was evaluated by means of SDS-PAGE and IgE immunoblotting. The allergenic potency of digested and undigested cod extract was further characterized in RAST inhibition and basophil histamine release experiments.
RESULTS: The digestion experiments revealed that codfish proteins were degraded within 1 minute under physiologic gastric conditions. An only marginal pH shift from 2.5 to 2.75 abrogated completely the digestion of cod allergens. In RAST inhibition experiments digested cod extracts showed a reduced IgE-binding capability that was dependent on the digestion time. Moreover, peptic fragments expressed a 10,000 times reduced allergenic potency, as evaluated on the basis of histamine release from human basophils.
CONCLUSION: Codfish allergens have a grossly reduced ability to trigger an intestinal allergic reaction when they are physiologically degraded. Impairment of the physiologic digestion might thus lower the threshold levels of a food allergen in sensitized patients.Journal of Allergy & Therapy