Collagen—An Important Fish Allergen for Improved Diagnosis

Tanja Kalic, Sandip D. Kamath, Thimo Ruethers, Aya C. Taki, Roni Nugraha, Thu T.K. Le, Piotr Humeniuk, Nicholas A. Williamson, Diamond Hira, Jennifer M. Rolland, Robyn E. O'Hehir, Danyi Dai, Dianne E. Campbell, Heimo Breiteneder, Andreas L. Lopata

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Background: Fish collagen is widely used in medicine, cosmetics, and the food industry. However, its clinical relevance as an allergen is not fully appreciated. This is likely due to collagen insolubility in neutral aqueous solutions, leading to low abundance in commercially available in vitro and skin prick tests for fish allergy. Objective: To investigate the relevance of fish collagen as an allergen in a large patient population (n = 101). Methods: Acid-soluble collagen type I was extracted from muscle and skin of Atlantic salmon, barramundi, and yellowfin tuna. IgE binding to collagen was analyzed by ELISA for 101 fish-allergic patients. Collagen-sensitized patients' sera were tested for IgE binding to parvalbumin from the same fish species. IgE cross-linking was analyzed by rat basophil leukemia assay and basophil activation test. Protein identities were confirmed by mass spectrometry. Results: Purified fish collagen contained type I α1 and α2 chains and their multimers. Twenty-one of 101 patients (21%) were sensitized to collagen. Eight collagen-sensitized patients demonstrated absence of parvalbumin-specific IgE to some fish species. Collagen induced functional IgE cross-linking, as shown by rat basophil leukemia assay performed using 6 patients' sera, and basophil activation test using fresh blood from 1 patient. Collagen type I α chains from barramundi and Atlantic salmon were registered at as Lat c 6 and Sal s 6, respectively. Conclusions: IgE sensitization and IgE cross-linking capacity of fish collagen were demonstrated in fish-allergic patients. Inclusion of relevant collagen allergens in routine diagnosis is indicated to improve the capacity to accurately diagnose fish allergy.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalThe Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 May 2020


  • Allergy diagnosis
  • Collagen
  • Fish allergy
  • IgE
  • IgE cross-linking

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