Herring

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Code: f205
Latin name: Clupea harengus
Source material: Fish muscle
Family: Clupeidae
Small herrings are sometimes canned and sold as sardines.

Allergen Exposure

Herring is eaten raw, cooked, pickled, fried or smoked. Canned "sardines" may sometimes be herrings.

Potential Cross-Reactivity

Species within groups of fish, like Gadiformes (examples: codfish and hake) and Scombroid fishes (examples: mackerel and tuna) seem to share allergenic components. The overlap of allergen specificity between the groups seems to be moderate or even small. Cross-reactivity within the order Clupeiformes can be expected.

Clinical Experience

Specific IgE-antibodies to herring have been shown in several studies of patients with atopic dermatitis, asthma and other symptoms (1-4).
 
Review
Both the Atlantic and Pacific herrings are subspecies of Clupea harengus. The smaller of the Atlantic variety is canned and sold around the world as sardines. The larger Atlantic herring is canned as kipper snacks and fillets. The roe from herring is a delicacy in Japan known as kazunoko. The Pacific herring is fished for its roe and for reduction purposes (oil and fish meal for poultry feeds). Herring is eaten fresh, raw, cooked, pickled, fried, baked, smoked and canned with various sauces. Specific IgE antibodies to herring have been measured in a group of atopic dermatitis patients (1). In another study with 225 allergic children, 14% were found to have IgE antibodies to herring (2). It appeared that the reactions decreased with increasing age. In asthmatic adults (3) and food-allergic children (4), IgE antibodies to herring were found using Pharmacia CAP System®. The clinical sensitivity and specificity of f205 Herring was reported to be 93% and 87% respectively (5). A case with contact dermatitis caused by herring had measurable concentrations of specific IgE antibody to herring (Pharmacia CAP System) but no detectable antibodies to cod, tuna or salmon (6). In vivo tests suggested cross-reactions within the order Clupeiformes (herring, sardine, anchovy). 

References

  1. Lindqvist, A; Ikezawa, Z.; Tanaka, A; Yman, L. Seafood specific IgE in atopic dermatitis. Ann Allergy 1993;70:58.
  2. Yamada, M; Torii, S. Clinical evaluation of Pharmacia CAP System new food and inhalant allergens. Japanese Soc Allergol 1992.
  3. Kino, M; Izumi, K. Frequency of positive reaction to Pharmacia CAP System RAST new food and inhalant allergen (26 allergens) specific IgE in patients with atopic bronchial asthma. Japanese Soc Allergol 1992.
  4. Matsumaru, S; Artia, M et al. Clinical evaluation of Pharmacia CAP System new allergens for fish, vegetables, fruits and grains. Jap Soc Ped Allergol 1992.
  5. Hansen, TK; Abrahamsen, L; Bindslev-Jensen, C; Poulsen, LK. Results of the CAP System and Immunoblotting in clinically fish allergic adults. Allergologie 1995;18:407.
  6. Alonso, MD; Dávila, I; Conde Salazar; L; Cuevas, M; Martin, JA; Guimaraens, MD; Losada, JA. Occupational protein contact dermatitis from herring. Allergy 1993;48:349-52.

As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.