Wheat Allergy in Children: A Comprehensive Update
Pediatric Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, 40139 Bologna, Italy
Clinica Pediatrica, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, 43126 Parma, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2019, 55(7), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55070400
Received: 21 June 2019 / Revised: 14 July 2019 / Accepted: 18 July 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Allergies)
Gluten-related disorders are very common in pediatric patients. Wheat allergy is triggered by an immunoglobulin E (IgE)-dependent mechanism; its prevalence varies according to the age and region, and in Europe has been estimated to be lower than 1%. Many studies investigated the potential role of several external factors that can influence the risk to developing wheat allergy, but results are still inconclusive. It can be responsible for several clinical manifestations depending on the route of allergen exposure: food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA), occupational rhinitis or asthma (also known as baker’s asthma), and contact urticaria. The prognosis of IgE-mediated wheat allergy in children is generally favorable, with the majority of children becoming tolerant by school age. Patients who experienced an anaphylactic reaction prior to 3 years of age and patients with higher level of wheat- or ω-5 gliadin-specific IgE antibodies seem to be at higher risk of persistent wheat allergy. The current management of patients is dietary avoidance. Nowadays, oral immunotherapy has been proposed for wheat allergy with promising results, even if further studies are necessary to establish the best protocol in order to promote tolerance in wheat-allergic children.