Allergens in allergy diagnosis: a glimpse at emerging new concepts and methodologies
Ciardiello, Maria Antonietta
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Allergic diseases are important concern of public health. A reliable diagnosis is of utmost importance for the management of allergic patients both when immunotherapy is planned and when the treatment is essentially based on the avoidance of the allergy source. However, the available diagnostic systems sometimes fail to detect specific IgE antibodies thus impairing the correct diagnosis. The traditional test systems are generally based on the use of protein extracts derived from the allergenic sources whose composition is very variable and cannot be standardized. The development of a new methodology combining the so-called allergenic molecule-based diagnosis with the multiplex microarray technology and allowing the analysis of multiple purified allergens in a single test represents an important improvement in allergy diagnosis. In addition, the biochemical and immunological characterisation of individual allergens has provided new insights into the understanding of allergen-IgE recognition that could be exploited for further improvements of allergy diagnostic tests.