Wheat as an allergen: Baker's asthma, food and wheat pollen allergy

Alicia Armentia, Eduardo Arranz, José Antonio Garrote, Javier Santos


Food incompatibilities affect approximately 20% of the population and can be caused by allergy.  Many plant proteins act as sensitizing agents in humans upon repeated exposure. Wheat is a prominent allergen source and is one of the causes of baker’s asthma, food and pollen allergy. On the basis of differential solubility, wheat grain proteins have been classified as salt-soluble albumins and gluten fraction or prolamins, which include gliadins and glutenins. Both proteins sources have been implicated in the development of wheat hypersensitivity.

During the past years we have purified and characterized several proteins from wheat, barley and rye, which are associated with flour allergy. These allergens have a potential role as a biological defence against the insect infestation of the grain.

Until recently gluten intolerance has been has been considered to be typical of celiac disease and wheat allergy. In the last the last few years, new digestive syndromes has been described. A new syndrome has been named non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and eosinophilic esophagitis can be also due to wheat ingestion.

The introduction of microarray techniques featuring a large panel of purified allergens has been a major advance in the diagnosis of allergic diseases. However, this technique has been hardly applied to the diagnosis and characterization of patients with occupational asthma due to wheat allergy.

Here, we described these investigations, the most important pathologies associated with wheat, their prevention and treatment.

Palabras clave

Baker’s asthma, wheat allergy, wheat pollen allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, Eosinophilic esophagitis, lipid transfer protein, Wheat alpha amylase inhibitors, microarrays, component resolved diagnosis

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