Six Hevea brasiliensis latex protein allergens, Hevb 1, Hev b 2, Hev b 3, Hev b 4, and two variants of Hev b 7 (7b and 7c), were purified from Hevea latex, while a seventh protein, Hev b 5, was prepared in recombinant form. The presence of these proteins in glove extracts was indicated by their respective antibodies in the serum of rabbits immunized against the extracts. The relative propensities of IgE binding to the individual latex allergens were compared using sera from latex-allergic patients. IgE recognition of Hev b 4, Hev b 7b, Hev b 5 and Hev b 2 was most frequently encountered, with 75, 61, 31 and 28%, respectively, of the patient sera reacting. Sensitivity to multiple latex proteins was common, and out of the 31 seropositive patients, 23 (74%/ ) had IgE against at least two latex allergens, while 12 (39%) had IgE specific for at least three allergens. Statistical analysis of the data suggested that many patients might have acquired sensitivity to Hev b 2, Hev b 4 and Hev b 7b from a common source. (e.g., from latex products). On the other hand, sensitivity to Hev b 5 and to Hev b 7c were interrelated. It is plausible that sensitivity to these two proteins might have been acquired from sources other than latex products (e.g., from certain foods).
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