Key Allergens

The ragweed plant is also sometimes known as Ambrosia. The World Health Organization recognises 15 allergens associated with allergy across 3 Ambrosia species. These are all allergens associated with airways.

Ragweed pollen occurs in the UK between August and September. This varies in different countries.

Amb a 1 is thought to be the most important ragweed allergen (in older texts it may be referred to as “antigen E”, with 95% of ragweed allergic patients being sensitised to this protein.

Amb a 6 is a Lipid Transfer Protein (LTP), these are referred to as panallergens as they are allergens which can cause allergic reactions across many plants and foods.

Amb a 8 and Amb t 8 are both profilin allergens. These are also panallergens which can cause serious allergic reactions, but more frequently seen in food allergies.

Amb a 9 and Amb a 10 are both polcalcin proteins. These are another group of panallergens and are associated with calcium binding in the plant.

Amb a 12 is an enolase protein.

Ragweed pollens also contain plant defensin proteins which are peptides which protect the plant against fungal attack.

Other allergens found in ragweed are incredibly similar in structure which makes sufferers of ragweed pollen allergy excellent candidates for immunotherapy, which helps to reduce the allergic symptoms of ragweed induced rhinitis.

Associated Syndromes

You may have Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome if you suffer from ragweed pollen allergy with oral allergy symptoms to 3 or more of the foods mentioned in cross reactivity section.

Lipid Transfer Proteins (LTP) are found in many types of plants. You may be allergic to all or some of the foods mentioned in the cross reactivity section, this is known as LTP Syndrome.

Latex Food Syndrome is also sometimes known as Latex Fruit Syndrome. When a person becomes sensitised to the allergens in latex they may also become sensitised to certain foods which contain similarly shaped proteins. Ragweed contains an enolase protein, which is also found in latex plants.

An allergy to birch pollen is strongly associated with seasonal allergic rhinitis (hayfever) as well as asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and atopic dermatitis.

Cross Reactivity

Profilin allergens can be considered both pollen allergens and food allergens. Other plant pollens containing profilin are alder, birch, mugwort, bermuda grass, sunflower, olive, rice, timothy grass, poplar, mesquite and maize. Foods containing profilin proteins are kiwi, pineapple and celery.

Other plant pollens which contain polcalcin proteins are alder, mugwort, birch, timothy grass, lilac and olive. There is also a polcalcin protein in turnips which is associated with this allergy presenting itself as a food allergy.

Other plants containing enolase proteins which can affect your airways include bermuda grass, several types of fungus and moulds, yeast and penicillin. Enolase is also a recognised contact allergen in rubber trees, so is strongly related to latex.

Lipid Transfer Proteins most commonly affect ingested foods, but have been found to be airway allergens in wormwood, plane trees, hemp, olive and pellitory.

Those with a sensitivity to chitinase may have linked allergies to foods which contain high levels of chitinase, like avocado, banana, chestnuts, corn (maize), kiwi, papaya, pomegranate and tomatoes.

Other plant pollen containing defensins include soya, wormwood, sagebrush and mugwort. Defensin proteins are also found as food allergens in peanut, celery and chestnuts.



Allergy UK - Allergic rhinitis

Allergy UK - Managing your asthma and your allergic rhinitis throughout the seasons

ACAAI - Ragweed Allergy

Healthline - Ragweed Symptoms

BBC - Science/Environment

Asthma and Allergies - Ragweed Allergy

Allergic Living - All abut Ragweed

Allergen Encyclopedia - Ragweed

Dermnet NZ - Ragweed

Articles and Journals

Ambrosia (Ragweed) Pollen Significantly Contributed to the Biological Pollution in the late Spring and early Summer of 2023 in an Urban Community with high Asthma Rates in Jacksonville, Florida, 2024

Physicochemical and immunological characterization of Amb a 12, a novel ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) pollen allergen, 2023

Ragweed pollen concentration predicts seasonal rhino-conjunctivitis and asthma severity in patients allergic to ragweed, 2022

Spectrum and frequency of food allergy in Kyiv`s adult citizens with allergic rhinitis: a cross-sectional study, 2022

Ragweed sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) tablets in allergic rhinoconjunctivitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis, 2022

Complex IgE sensitization patterns in ragweed allergic patients: Implications for diagnosis and specific immunotherapy, 2022

Randomized controlled trial of ragweed sublingual immunotherapy tablet in the subpopulation of Canadian children and adolescents with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, 2021

Biological weed control to relieve millions from Ambrosia allergies in Europe, 2020

Cross‐reactivity in allergy: A double‐edged sword, 2019

Ragweed Pollen Allergy: Burden, Characteristics, and Management of an Imported Allergen Source in Europe, 2018

Modifiable Risk Factors for Common Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) Allergy and Disease in Children: A Case-Control Study, 2018

Climate Change and Future Pollen Allergy in Europe, 2017

Your Grandchildren’s Pollen? Modelling the Future of Ragweed Sensitization in Europe, 2017

In children allergic to ragweed pollen, nasal inflammation is not influenced by monosensitization or polysensitization, 2016

Ragweed-induced allergic rhinoconjunctivitis: current and emerging treatment options, 2015

Ambrosia artemisiifolia (ragweed) in Germany – current presence, allergological relevance and containment procedures, 2015

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