Tick Bites Plus Blood Type Predispose to Red Meat Allergy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:


Dr. Brestoff-Parker

Jonathan R. Brestoff-Parker, MD, PhD
PSTP Resident, Clinical Pathology
Department of Pathology & Immunology
Washington University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Red meat allergy is a recently recognized food allergy in which people experience a delayed allergic response about 3-6 hours after eating red meats that contain the allergen alpha-gal.

Red meat allergy is thought to be caused by tick bites which expose humans to alpha-gal, however other factors that contribute to disease risk are not well described. Alpha-gal looks a lot like the B antigen, which is one of the factors that determines blood type. So we wondered whether people with blood types B or AB are protected from getting red meat allergy. We were amazed when we found that patients who make the B antigen (blood types B or AB) are 5 times less likely to have red meat allergy than patients who do not make the B antigen (blood types O or A). 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Blood type appears to affect susceptibility to developing red meat allergy.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: We know that rarely people with blood types B or AB do get red meat allergy, so now we would like to know whether these patients have a unique disease presentation. We also don’t know how many people are affected by red meat allergy. Is this a common disease or relatively rare? We just don’t know the answer yet but need to.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: I would encourage anyone who thinks they may have an allergic reaction to red meat to talk to their physician and get a referral to an allergist.

Our findings were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice on March 3, 2018 and can be found at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2018.02.010. I have no relevant disclosures.

B Antigen Protects Against the Development of α-Gal-mediated Red Meat Allergy

Jonathan R. Brestoff, Merih T. Tesfazghi, Ronald Jackups Jr., Mitchell G. Scott, Ann M. Gronowski, Brenda J. Grossman
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Vol. 141, Issue 2, AB230
Published in issue: February 2018



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