Hochrisikogruppen für eine Alpha-Gal-Sensibilisierung

Translated title of the contribution: High-risk groups for alpha-gal sensitization

M. Benders-Guedj, M. Köberle, H. Hofmann, T. Biedermann, U. Darsow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Tick bite-induced IgE-mediated reactions to the oligosaccharide galactose α-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal) are increasingly recognized. This study investigated alpha-gal sensitization in three groups with different tick bite exposure. Methods: Specific IgE antibodies to alpha-gal and total IgE were investigated in 485 patients with Lyme borreliosis with different disease manifestations and compared to a control group of 200 randomly selected patients without increased exposure to tick bites. A group of 232 hunters and forest workers served as a model for multiple tick bites. Results: Specific IgE (sIgE) antibodies to alpha-gal (> 0.1 kU/L) were found in 12.6% of all borreliosis samples compared to the control group with 9% (relative risk 1.4; CI 0.85 – 2.3; n.s.). The highest prevalence of sIgE to alpha-gal was observed in hunters and forest service employees (22.8%, relative risk 2.5; CI 1.5 – 4.2; p < 0.001). Higher age and elevated total IgE were also associated with alpha-gal sensitization. Conclusions: IgE sensitization to alpha-gal tends to be more frequent in tick-exposed patients with borreliosis than in controls (n.s.). Moreover, hunters and forest workers show an even higher rate of elevated IgE to alpha-gal. Thus, frequent tick contact may result in alpha-gal sensitization. In the area of Munich, the prevalence of alpha-gal sensitization appears lower than in Baden-Württemberg and lower than in the USA, which may be due to the difference in tick species or the frequency of tick exposure. This study could show that alpha-gal sensitization and presumably alpha-gal syndrome does not seem to be a modern problem but existed already more than 30 years ago.

Translated title of the contributionHigh-risk groups for alpha-gal sensitization
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)727-738
Number of pages12
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


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