Cross-reactivity between Ficus benjamina (weeping fig) and natural rubber latex

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The importance of hypersensitivity to Ficus allergens is reported. Cross-sensitization between fig (Ficus carica), weeping fig (F. benjamina [Fb]), and natural rubber latex (NRL) was confirmed by RAST inhibition. We performed skin prick tests with freshFb tree sap and NRL extracts in 346 consecutive patients and in 151 patients with immediate-type hypersensitivity to NRL. Total serum IgE and IgE antibodies to NRL and Ficus spp. were analyzed in sera. By the RAST-inhibition method, we studied cross-reactivity among latex, fig, and weeping fig. Sensitization to Fb was diagnosed in 23 of the 346 consecutive patients, and the simultaneous presence of latex-specific IgE was highly significant. Of 151 NRL-allergic patients, 35 were also sensitized toFb. Cross-reacting IgE antibodies recognizing latex andFicus allergens were demonstrated by RAST inhibition. The present study reinforces the importance of Fb as an indoor allergen. Cross-reacting IgE antibodies to NRL and Ficus spp. allergens are frequently found in the sera of atopic patients. Development of commercially available standardized extracts for skin tests is urgently necessary.

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