Lipid transfer protein allergy: primary food allergy or pollen/food syndrome in some cases

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Purpose of review

To summarize recent findings on non-specific lipid transfer proteins in food allergy, with a specific focus on the localization, stability and route of sensitization.

Recent findings

Plant non-specific lipid transfer proteins are major food allergens, especially in the Mediterranean area. They have been identified as allergens in a number of foods and the list grows ever longer. As non-specific lipid transfer proteins are considered to be ‘true’ food allergens that sensitize directly via the gastrointestinal tract their stability during food processing and gastric digestion has been studied in more detail. In addition, several groups have tried to determine the sensitization patterns of lipid transfer protein-reactive patients, to determine and possibly clarify the observed geographical differences in sensitization. Different sensitization routes (via the respiratory tract or even transdermally) have been suggested.


As the structure and molecular properties of non-specific lipid transfer proteins are resolved and more purified non-specific lipid transfer proteins become available for diagnostic purposes, detailed studies on the sensitization pattern and route are becoming feasible. Continuing studies on the pattern of lipid transfer protein sensitization will give more insight into the development and possible treatment of lipid transfer protein-related food allergy.

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