Allergy Asthma Respir Dis.  2015 Sep;3(5):358-364. 10.4168/aard.2015.3.5.358.

Cross-allergenicity between dandelion and major weed pollens

  • 1Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Ajou University Hospital, Suwon, Korea.
  • 2Department of Pulmonology-Allergy, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, Seongnam, Korea.


The prevalence of pollinosis is increasing, and it is expected to increase further with climate change. Mugwort and ragweed pollens are well known as prevalent allergenic weed pollens in Korea. However, the clinical significance of dandelion pollen as an inhalant allergen has not yet been studied. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical significance and cross-allergenicity between dandelion and major weed pollens.
Ninety-seven patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma or with allergic rhinitis alone who were sensitized to dandelion pollens on skin prick tests (allergen/histamine ratio>3) were enrolled between December, 2012 and November, 2013. Serum specific IgE levels to dandelion pollen extracts were measured by using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). ELISA inhibition tests were performed to evaluate cross allergenecity with other weed pollens.
When the positive cutoff value for serum specific IgE was set at the mean+/-3 standard deviation of absorbance values, 52 patients (53.6%) had a high serum specific IgE antibody level. ELISA inhibition tests showed significant inhibitions with serial addition of dandelion pollen extracts, and 5 different inhibition patterns were noted with addition of 4 weed pollen extracts: significant inhibitions with pollens of mugwort, ragweed, chenopodium and Hop J (25%, 13 of 52), inhibitions with pollens of mugwort, ragweed and chenopodium (17.3%, 9 of 52), inhibitions with 2 pollens of mugwort and ragweed (32.6%, 17 of 52), inhibitions with mugwort pollen (21.1%, 11 of 52), and inhibitions with dandelion pollen alone (4%, 2 of 52).
These findings suggest that dandelion pollen may be a causative inhalant allergen to induce pollinosis in the autumn season. Cross-allergenicity with other weed pollens showed individual differences; most patients had cross-reactivity with mugwort, ragweed, and chenopodium pollens, while some with Hop J pollen. Few patients were sensitized to dandelion pollen alone.


Taraxacum officinale; Cross-allergenicity; Pollinosis

MeSH Terms

Climate Change
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
Immunoglobulin E
Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal
Immunoglobulin E


  • Fig. 1. Detection of serum specific IgE antibodies to dandelion pollen extracts by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in sera from 97 allergic rhinitis patients (●) and 44 normal controls (■).

  • Fig. 2. IgE-ELISA inhibition results for dandelion pollen extracts by serial addition of dandelion, mugwort, ragweed, Chenopodium album, and Japanese hop pollen extracts. (A) inhibition with 4 weed pollens; (B) inhibition with 3 weed pollens, including mugwort, ragweed, and C. album pollen; (C) inhibition with 2 weed pollens, including mugwort and ragweed pollens; (D) inhibition with mugwort pollen; and (E) inhibition with dandelion pollen alone. ELISA, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

  • Fig. 3. Sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis findings of dandelion pollen extracts using 4%–20% gel. M, marker; 1, 40 μg of dandelion pollen; 2, 60 μg of dandelion pollen.

  • Fig. 4. IgE immunoblot analysis of dandelion pollen extracts using sera of 22 patients with allergic rhinitis. M, marker; N, normal control; B, blank. A, B, C, D, and E according to Fig. 2.

  • Fig. 5. Frequency of IgE-binding components to dandelion pollen extracts by immunoblot analysis. *Indicates the IgE-binding component found in more than 50% of the allergic rhinitis patients tested.



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