New food allergy model for fenugreek developed

A mouse model to investigate allergy to fenugreek has been developed by Norwegian researchers. The model can also be used to study cross-reactivity to peanut, soy and lupin, major food allergens with public health relevance.

Fenugreek is a member of the legume family and is used as an ingredient in curries, chutneys and teas. Allergic reactions to fenugreek may be severe yet its presence is rarely declared in ingredient listings. There is also great concern about potential cross-reactivity with other legumes such as peanut, soy and lupin.

"Allergens that are hidden in generic terms like spices, pose a special problem for food-allergic people. Fenugreek is a well-known food ingredient in Asian dishes, and as are changing, we will be more exposed to fenugreek also in Norway. Mouse models are important research tools that give valuable information in the understanding of food allergies, and may contribute to develop specific therapies for these food allergies" says Nina Eriksen Vinje, researcher at the Division of at the Norwegian Institute of and first author of the paper published in the Scandinavian Journal of Immunology.

Cross-reactivity between peanut and fenugreek first came to attention in 2006. The Norwegian Register received reports about allergic reactions to food containing curry powder, and cross-reactivity between peanut and fenugreek was confirmed in two peanut-allergic patients. It has since been discovered that fenugreek gives a stronger cross-reaction to peanut than other legumes such as soy and green peas.

Mouse models

New foods need to be tested on specific food-allergy models for each potential allergen. Mice are used as they have a well-characterised immune system that resembles the , allowing researchers to study complex immune reactions. The food-allergy model for fenugreek developed by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health can also be used to understand suspected cross-reactivity to peanuts and other legumes.

More information: Vinje NE, Namork E, Løvik M (2011) Anaphylactic Reactions in Mice with Fenugreek Allergy. Scandinavian Journal of Immunology Volume 74: Issue 4 pages 342-353

Provided by Norwegian Institute of Public Health

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Of Mice and Peanuts: A new mouse model for peanut allergy

Jan 12, 2009

Chicago researchers report the development of a new mouse model for food allergy that mimics symptoms generated during a human allergic reaction to peanuts. The animal model provides a new research tool that will be invaluable ...

Researchers evaluating food allergy treatment

Apr 17, 2008

Researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center are conducting trials to evaluate a method to prevent allergic reactions to food. They are feeding peanut- and egg-allergic people increasing doses of an investigational ...

Peanut allergy turned off by tricking immune system

Oct 11, 2011

Researchers have turned off a life-threatening allergic response to peanuts by tricking the immune system into thinking the nut proteins aren't a threat to the body, according to a new preclinical study from Northwestern ...

Treating peanut allergy through a patch

Mar 02, 2011

Can your peanut-allergic child be treated by simply wearing a patch? That’s what researchers at National Jewish Health are investigating. National Jewish Health, along with four other institutions in the Consortium of ...

Recommended for you

Ebola: Keeping patients alive as body fights back

15 hours ago

People who shared an apartment with the first U.S. Ebola patient are emerging from quarantine healthy. And while Thomas Eric Duncan died and two U.S. nurses were infected caring for him, there are successes, ...

User comments