Immediate hypersensitivity to penicillins. Identification of a new antigenic determinant
The study of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) constitutes a challenge in the area of Medicine. Drugs generate a large number of the total registered hypersensitivity reactions, where penicillins are responsible for more than half of them. In vitro tests in the market are not efficient enough since they lack in sensitivity and specificity. This is the reason why in vivo tests are carried out, with the subsequent danger to the patient’s life. It is essential to discover new β-lactam antigenic determinants to develop more effective detection systems and thus, obtain better explanations of the allergic mechanisms related to these drugs. We propose a strategy based on the use of “peptide probes”, small labeled and chemical active peptides which have been structurally modified for reacting with the β-lactam moiety at different conditions. The probes also contain a biotin group for application in an immunoassay format. Three different amoxicillin adducts have been obtained, purified and characterized by HPLC–MS and NMR techniques. These results have helped us to elucidate and propose a new antigenic determinant for β-lactams, named the “penamidyl” epitope. All the adducts have been validated and evaluated with sera from different penicillin allergic patients by means of a Magneto-ELISA, immunochemical technique that has allowed us to detect specific IgEs in a very high percentage of the serum samples. An immunoassay has been developed, validated and applied as a diagnostic tool for the detection of specific IgEs in the sera of penicillin allergic patients using a new antigenic determinant.