Background: A proportion of patients allergic to birch pollen are also allergic to pit fruit. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of immunotherapy with birch pollen on birch-pollen-related apple allergy. Method: Patients with birch pollen immunotherapy underwent a skin-prick test with birch pollen, apple and rMal d 1, global assessments and nasal challenges with birch pollen, open food challenge with apple and a double-blind, placebo-controlled test with rMal d 1 at the start of and during the immunotherapy. Measurements of specific IgE in response to Bet v 1 and rMal d 1 and IgG4 in response to Bet v 1 and rMal d 1 took place. Results: Six of eight patients demonstrated an improvement of nasal challenge test results and all patients improved on global assessment during the immunotherapy. The median oral dose of apple required to elicit a reaction increased but was not statistically significant. The patients showed a decrease in skin-prick test values in response to birch pollen (1.05 to 0.36), apple (0.78 to 0.25) and rMal d 1 (0.51 to 0.10) with p
-values of 0.04, 0.03 and 0.06, respectively and a decrease of specific IgE in response to Bet v 1 (10.66 kU/L to 5.19 kU/L) and rMal d 1 (0.99 to 0.61 kU/L) with p
-values of 0.01 and 0.05, respectively. Only the median specific IgG4 value to Bet v 1 increased from 0.05 to 1.85 mg/L (p
-value of 0.02) and not to IgG4 rMal d 1 (0.07 to 0.08 kU/L). Conclusion: The beneficial effects of immunotherapy for birch pollen were accompanied by a limited effect on apple allergy.
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