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Key Allergens

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.

A recent 2024 study looked at the link between milk consumption and alpha gal syndrome, it found that whole milk was able to illicit allergic reactions in some people.

Cross Reactivity

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

Milk Fat Globule Proteins Are Relevant Bovine Milk Allergens in Patients with α-Gal Syndrome

Tick bites, IgE to galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose and urticarial or anaphylactic reactions to mammalian meat: The alpha-gal syndrome, 2024

Gene-edited pigs: a translational model for human food allergy against alpha-Gal and anaphylaxis, 2024

What is New in Alpha-Gal Syndrome? 2023

Oral immunotherapy in alpha-gal red meat allergy: Could specific IgE be a potential biomarker in monitoring management? 2023

Clinical Use of the ImmunoCAP Inhibition Test in the Diagnosis of Meat Allergy Caused by a Tick Bite in an Adult Male with No Previous Atopic History, 2023

Tick Bites and Red Meat Allergy, 2023

α-Gal Syndrome: Busting Paradigms in Food Allergy, 2023

Sheep cheese allergy in Alpha-gal Syndrome, 2023

A Case Report on Alpha-gal Syndrome, 2023

The Meat of the Matter: Understanding and Managing Alpha-Gal Syndrome, 2022

Cross-reactivity between tick and wasp venom can contribute to frequent wasp sensitization in patients with the α-Gal syndrome, 2022

Alpha-Gal Syndrome: An Emerging Food Allergy Related to Tick Bites, 2022

Course of IgE to α-Gal in a Swedish population of α-Gal syndrome patients, 2021

Tick bite induced α-gal syndrome highlights anticancer effect of allergy, 2021

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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