The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology

Using a gluten oral food challenge protocol to improve diagnosis of wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis.

PMID 25269870


Oral wheat plus cofactors challenge tests in patients with wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA) produce unreliable results. We sought to confirm WDEIA diagnosis by using oral gluten flour plus cofactors challenge, to determine the amount of gluten required to elicit symptoms, and to correlate these results with plasma gliadin levels, gastrointestinal permeability, and allergologic parameters. Sixteen of 34 patients with a history of WDEIA and ω5-gliadin IgE underwent prospective oral challenge tests with gluten with or without cofactors until objective symptoms developed. Gluten reaction threshold levels, plasma gliadin concentrations, gastrointestinal permeability, sensitivities and specificities for skin prick tests, and specific IgE levels were ascertained in patients and 38 control subjects. In 16 of 16 patients (8 female and 8 male patients; age, 23-76 years), WDEIA was confirmed by challenges with gluten alone (n = 4) or gluten plus cofactors (n = 12), including 4 patients with previous negative wheat challenge results. Higher gluten doses or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) plus alcohol instead of physical exercise were cofactors in 2 retested patients. The cofactors ASA plus alcohol and exercise increased plasma gliadin levels (P < .03). Positive challenge results developed after a variable period of time at peak or when the plateau plasma gliadin level was attained. Positive plasma gliadin threshold levels differed by greater than 100-fold and ranged from 15 to 2111 pg/mL (median, 628 pg/mL). The clinical history, IgE gliadin level, and baseline gastrointestinal level were not predictive of the outcomes of the challenge tests. The challenge-confirmed sensitivity and specificity of gluten skin prick tests was 100% and 96%, respectively. Oral challenge with gluten alone or along with ASA and alcohol is a sensitive and specific test for the diagnosis of WDEIA. Exercise is not an essential trigger for the onset of symptoms in patients with WDEIA.