Fish allergy - a comprehensive review of recent developments in fish allergy diagnosis and fish allergen detection

Annette Kuehn*, Hilger Christiane, Hentges François

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Allergy to fish is one of the most common IgE-mediated food allergies, especially in geographical regions where fish is frequently consumed. Most fish-allergic patients are sensitized to ß-parvalbumin, a highly stable protein of 11-12 kDa. Several isoforms of parvalbumins can be found in the same muscle tissue. These isoforms share conserved protein domains. Common IgE epitopes have been considered as an explanation for the extensive allergic cross-reactivity to different fish species. However, frequency and intensity of allergic reactions to fish are highly variable in sensitized patients. The diagnosis of fish allergy has made progress over the last decade. New approaches have been investigated for component-resolved diagnosis. Parvalbumin molecules from different species are being produced as recombinant proteins and become available for use in allergen-specific serum IgE quantification. Component-resolved diagnosis provides also the opportunity to test IgE for fish allergens other than parvalbumin. The availability of well-characterized minor allergens in routine assays is important to improve the future clinical diagnosis of fish allergy. Diagnostic tools like the microarray system are being commercialized addressing the challenge of patient-specific allergy profiling. To date, specific immunotherapy is not available for fish-allergic patients. A new EU project aims now to test a hypo-allergenic variant of recombinant parvalbumin in a clinical immunotherapy trial. For the time being, patients are advised to avoid any kind of fish and fish products, unless it was shown that some fish were tolerated by the individual. In the US and Europe, fish and fish-derived ingredients are included in the list of important food allergens. In order to protect fish-allergic consumers, regulatory food authorities require manufacturers to label fish and fishery products. Food monitoring and tracing became a legal issue. In the recent past, the need for reliable assays motivated research to develop analytical assays for fish allergen detection. Detection of fish allergens has been approached by a number of studies both on the protein level as well as on the DNA level, so that it can be expected that commercial assays will be available soon. This chapter will provide a general overview of fish allergy and of the relevant molecular biology background. Recent developments in diagnosis of fish allergy and detection of fish allergens will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFood Allergies
Subtitle of host publicationSymptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781617287480
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Fish allergy - a comprehensive review of recent developments in fish allergy diagnosis and fish allergen detection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this