Institute of Translational Pharmacology, Italian National Research Council, Rome, Italy; Department of Medicine, "Sapienza" University, Rome, Italy.
Background: Allergic sensitization and diseases have been reported to have a very high and increasing prevalence in elite athletes. Over 80% of allergic athletes are poly-sensitized.
Objective: This study aims at evaluating the potential diagnostic added value of a microarray technology (ImmunoCAP ISAC, Phadia AB [at present Thermo Fisher Scientific] Uppsala, Sweden which detects IgE antibodies to specific or cross-reacting allergen components.
Methods: Seventy-two poly-sensitized athletes according to skin prick test (SPT) with different allergic phenotypes (asthma n = 19; rhino-conjunctivitis n = 20; food allergy and/or oral allergy syndrome n = 13; no clinical symptoms n = 20) and two different control populations (20 poly-sensitized sedentary subjects with respiratory allergy and 20 healthy athletes with negative SPT) were studied for detecting specific IgE (sIgE) both to allergen extracts (ImmunoCAPsIgE) and to allergen components (ImmunoCAP ISAC).
Results: ImmunoCAP ISAC detected the presence of sIgE in 90% of poly-sensitized athletes - in 96% with symptoms and in 75% without symptoms - and in 100% of allergic controls. The pattern of positivity towards the 103 components tested differed from subject to subject, even in those with the same sensitization to allergen extract SPT or sIgE. Based on the ISAC results, poly-sensitized athletes were classified into the following prototypical patterns, differently represented in the clinical phenotypes studied (P = 0.03): (1) One single predominant specific allergen positivity; (2) sIgE to two or more non-cross-reacting allergens; (3) sIgE to cross-reacting allergens; and (4) sIgE to components potentially responsible for severe allergic reactions.
Conclusions: The ImmunoCAP ISAC represents a useful additional tool for diagnosis and management of poly-sensitized athletes.