ALPHA GAL SYNDROME
Alpha-gal Syndrome is a condition where a person has been bitten by a tick. The tick passes on a carbohydrate called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (also known as alpha-gal).
This carbohydrate causes an immune reaction to make IgE antibodies. This is an unusual allergic syndrome as it is caused by a carbohydrate and not an allergenic protein.
The ticks most commonly causing this syndrome are found in the USA and Australia, but cases have also been found in Europe, South Africa and Japan.
Alpha-gal Syndrome most frequently causes delayed IgE allergic reactions to the consumption of red meats, this is unlike the classic IgE reactions which are immediate on ingestion.
People suffering from Alpha-gal Syndrome may react to many types of mammalian and bird meats containing serum albumin. This may cause severe delayed IgE reactions. This includes the consumption of lamb, pork and beef.
Alpha-gal Syndrome has also been known to cause immediate anaphylactic reactions to tick bites and reactions to the drug cetuximab (which is a targeted cancer drug, used most often in bowel cancer treatment).
There have also been case studies of people who have suffered allergic reactions due to Alpha-gal Syndrome from xenotransplantation. This is where cells or tissue from an animal is used to repair cell or tissue damage in a human. Cells most commonly used are from pigs.
Allergen Encyclopedia - Alpha Gal
DermNet NZ - Tick bite-induced red meat allergy
Anaphylaxis Campaign - Tick bites and allergic reactions to red meat
ACAAI - Meat Allergy
Science Direct - Galactose-alpha-1-3-galactose
CDC - Alpha-gal Allergy
Articles and Journals
Allergic response to medical products in patients with alpha-gal syndrome, 2021
Red meat allergy in patients with IgE antibodies specific for galactose-alpha-1.3-galactose; A case series from Turkey, 2021
Tick salivary gland extract induces alpha-gal syndrome in alpha-gal deficient mice, 2021
Tick exposures and alpha-gal syndrome: A systematic review of the evidence, 2021
The alpha-Gal syndrome: new insights into the tick-host conflict and cooperation, 2019
Ingestion of mammalian meat and alpha-gal allergy: Clinical relevance in primary care, 2019
A novel Australian tick Ixodes (Endopalpiger) australiensis inducing mammalian meat allergy after tick bite, 2018
Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose sensitization is a prerequisite for pork-kidney allergy and cofactor-related mammalian meat anaphylaxis, 2014
Alpha-Gal detectors in xenotransplantation research: a word of caution, 2012
A Peculiar Cause of Anaphylaxis: No More steak? The Journey to Discovery of a Newly Recognized Allergy to Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose Found in Mammalian Meat, 2012
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