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A cytological assay for diagnosis of food hypersensitivity in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Nov 21;

Authors: Carroccio A, Brusca I, Mansueto P, Pirrone G, Barrale M, Di Prima L, Ambrosiano G, Iacono G, Lospalluti ML, La Chiusa SM, Di Fede G

BACKGROUND & AIMS:: A percentage of patients with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) suffer from food hypersensitivity (FH) and improve on a food-elimination diet. No assays have satisfactory levels of sensitivity for identifying patients with FH. We evaluated the efficacy of an in vitro basophil activation assay in the diagnosis of FH in IBS-like patients. METHODS:: Blood samples were collected from 120 consecutive patients diagnosed with IBS according to Rome II criteria. We analyzed in vitro activation of basophils by food allergens (based on levels of CD63 expression), as well as total and food-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)E levels in serum. Effects of elimination diets and double-blind food challenges were used as standards for FH diagnosis. RESULTS:: Twenty-four of the patients (20%) had FH (cow's milk and/or wheat hypersensitivity); their symptom scores significantly improved when they were placed on an elimination diet. Patients with FH differed from other IBS patients in that they had a longer duration of clinical history, a history of FH as children, and an increased frequency of self-reported FH; they also had hypersensitivities to other antigens (e.g. egg or soy). The basophil activation assay diagnosed FH with 86% sensitivity, 88% specificity, and 87% accuracy; this level of sensitivity was significantly higher than that of serum total IgE or food-specific IgE assays. CONCLUSIONS:: A cytometric assay that quantifies basophils after stimulation with food antigens based on cell-surface expression of CD63 had high levels of sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy in diagnosing FH. This assay might be used to diagnose FH in patients with IBS-like symptoms.

PMID: 19932763 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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