Rhinoconjunctival sensitization to hydrolyzed wheat protein in facial soap can induce wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis

A study from Japan has found that food protein hydrolysates used in soap, shampoo and cosmetic cream may induce allergy to natural food products.

Hydrolyzed wheat protein (HWP) is used in many food and non-food products. Some people experience immediate contact urticaria when they use skin products containing HWP, and some of these patients experience food allergy after eating products containing HWP even though they can tolerate normal bread pasta and pastries with no problem.

This particular study looked at 5 Japanese women with wheat allergy who presented exercise-induced anaphylaxis after ingestion of normal wheat products but who also had episodes of skin and/or rhinoconjunctival contact allergy to HWP-containing soap. Case histories of the women showed that the development of their wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis was induced by sensitisation to HWP in facial soap they used, and the accompanying sensitisation to natural wheat protein.

At first the women used the soap with no problems, but shortly they began to develop itchiness and urticaria of the eyelids and face. The severity of their symptoms increased and resembled forerunning symptoms that develop after the combination of wheat ingestion and exercise.

More research is needed to clarify the wheat allergen component and the IgE epitope in hydrolysed wheat protein that contribute to the allergic reaction to ingested wheat products of this type.

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

January 2011


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