Very low prevalence of IgE mediated wheat allergy and high levels of cross-sensitisation between grass and wheat in a UK birth cohort

C. Venter, Kate Maslin, Syed Hasan Arshad, Veeresh Patil, Jane Grundy, Gillian Glasbey, Roger Twiselton, Taraneh Dean

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BackgroundPatients often report adverse reactions to wheat. Interpretation of sensitization to wheat pollen and flour with/without sensitization to grass pollen is a clinical problem.AimWe set out to determine the prevalence of wheat allergy in a birth cohort (10/11 year olds) and investigate the usefulness of performing skin prick tests (SPT), specific IgE tests and component resolved diagnostics to wheat pollen and flour.MethodsThe Food Allergy and Intolerance Research (FAIR) birth cohort included babies born on the Isle of Wight (UK) between September 2001–August 2002 (n = 969). Children were followed up at 1, 2, 3 and 10/11 years. 588 children had SPTs to wheat pollen and grass during the 10 year follow-up. 294 children underwent further SPT to wheat flour and 246 had specific IgE testing to wheat and grass.ResultsEight children underwent oral food challenges (OFC). We diagnosed 0.48 % (4/827; 95 % CI 0–1 %) children with wheat allergy based on OFC. 16.3 % (96/588) were sensitized to grass pollen, 13.4 % (79/588) to wheat pollen; 78 % (75/96) sensitized to both. Only one child was sensitized to wheat flour and wheat pollen, but not grass pollen. For specific IgE, 15.0 % (37/246) and 36.2 % (89/246) were sensitized to wheat and grass pollen, with 40.5 % (36/89) sensitized to both. Of the 37 children sensitized to wheat, 3 (8.1 %) were sensitized to omega 5 gliadin, 1 (2.7 %) to wheat lipid transfer protein and 1 to wheat gliadin.ConclusionClinicians should be aware of the high level of cross-sensitization when performing tests to wheat and grass pollen i.e. sensitisation to wheat specific IgE and wheat pollen SPT should be assessed in the presence of grass pollen SPT and/or specific IgE.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Translational Allergy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016 The Author(s). This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


  • wheat allergy
  • cross-reactions
  • cross-sensitization
  • hay fever
  • food allergy


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