J Korean Med Sci.  2016 Aug;31(8):1202-1207. 10.3346/jkms.2016.31.8.1202.

Cross-Reactivity between Oak and Birch Pollens in Korean Tree Pollinosis

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Allergy, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. parkjw@yuhs.ac
  • 2Department of Biology Education, Faculty of Education, Seowon University, Cheongju, Korea.

Abstract

Oak and birch trees belong to Fagales order. Specific IgE to pollen allergens of both trees are frequently found in Korea pollinosis patients. Oak trees which comprise 40% of forest area are common in Korea. However, birch trees are sparse. We compared the allergenicity of pollen extracts of white oak, sawtooth and Mongolian oaks which are prevalent species in Korea, with the pollen extract of birch. The cross-reactivity of four pollen extracts was examined with pooled sera of 12 patients by ELISA, immunoblotting and CAP inhibitions. A protein of 17 kDa, putatively homologous to a major birch allergen Bet v 1, displayed strong IgE reactivity from white oak and sawtooth oak pollen extract but not from Mongolian oak pollen. Notably, a 23-kDa protein from sawtooth and white oaks showed strong IgE reactivity and inhibited by Bet v 1. IgE binding to white oak was inhibited a maximum of 94.6% by white oak, 93.4% by sawtooth oak, 83.2% by Mongolian oak, and 68.8% by birch. Furthermore, sawtooth oak, white oak, and Mongolian oak extracts were able to inhibit up to 78.5%, 76.6% and 67.3% of IgE binding to birch extract, while birch extract itself inhibited up to 94.3%. Specific IgE to Bet v 1 was inhibited a maximum of 79.1% by sawtooth oak, 77.4% by white oak, and 72.7% by Mongolian oak, while 81.5% inhibition was shown by birch. Bet v 1 was able to partially inhibit its homologous molecules from sawtooth oak and white oak in immunoblotting. Birch pollen extract was found to be cross-reactive primarily with Bet v 1-homologous allergen from oak pollens in Korea pollinosis patients. Considering the sparseness of birch tree in Korea, oak, especially sawtooth oak may be the main cause of tree pollinosis in Korea, rather than birch.

Keyword

Cross-Reactivity; Oak Pollen; Tree Pollinosis; IgE; Korea
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