Vespa velutina nigrithorax venom allergy: inhibition studies approach for the choice of specific immunotherapy

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1Immunology and Allergy Laboratory Unit, San Giovanni di Dio Hospital, Florence, Italy
2Anallergo, Scarperia e San Piero, Florence, Italy
3Ethology Unit, Department of Biology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
4Department of Ecosystem and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
5UMR CNRS 6249 Chrono-environnement, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Besançon, France
6Medical and Scientific Affairs, Immuno Diagnostics, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Monza, Italy
7Allergology and Clinical Immunology Unit, San Giovanni di Dio Hospital, Florence, Italy
8Entomon, S.R.L, Florence, Italy
9Immunohematology Transfusion Medicine and Allergology Unit, San Paolo, Hospital, Savona, Italy
10Allergy Clinic, ASL 2 Savona, Savona, Italy


Published: 13 December 2022
Accepted: 05 December 2022
Received: 05 October 2022


Background. Vespa velutina nigrithorax (VVN), commonly known as Asian wasp because endemic in Asia, represents an alien species in Europe. VVN can induce allergic reactions similar to those caused by other Hymenoptera and death after VVN stings, presumably due to fatal allergic reactions, has been reported. In the treatment of Hymenoptera venom hypersensitivity, specific immunotherapy (VIT) is highly effective. Currently, there is no specific available VIT for VVN, so it is relevant to assess if patients stung by VVN and showing allergic reactions could be treated with the Hymenoptera commercially available extracts Vespa crabro (VC) and Vespula spp (Vspp) or if they need the specific VIT with VVN venom extract. Methods. Four patients with a clinical history of systemic reactions after VVN sting were evaluated. Serum specific IgE were assayed quantitatively with an automated fluoro-enzyme immunoassay ImmunoCAP™ Specific IgE by Phadia™ 1000 System (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Uppsala, Sweden) for VC, Vspp and VVN. Cap inhibition assays were performed incubating serum samples with 200 μl of each venom at increasing concentrations and subsequently specific IgE against each of the venoms were determined in the samples by Phadia™ 250 System (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Uppsala, Sweden). Results. Our results suggested that both Vspp and VC venoms were able to inhibit the specific IgE for VVN, although the VC compared to the Vspp venom showed a higher inhibition. Conclusions. Our inhibition studies suggested that VIT with VC venom, nowadays when there is not specific available VIT for VVN, may be more effective than Vspp VIT in patients with VVN sting reactions.

Vespa velutina nigrithorax; immunotherapy; Hymenoptera venoms.

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