Venoms of the Hymenoptera are mixtures of several antigens with nonimmunogenic small peptides and vasoactive amines. Limited local toxicity occurs with stings; systemic reactions to venoms are mediated by IgE antibodies and can be prevented by immunization with the appropriate venom. Skin testing with venoms detects the sensitized state, and a positive test predicts a 50 to 60% risk of an allergic response to a future sting. Because considerable cross-reactivity exists between vespid venom allergens, choice of correct venom(s) for immunotherapy will not always be indicated by skin-testing with whole, unfractionated venom. Further efforts at skin testing with individual venom antigens may help to resolve problems regarding choice of venoms for immunotherapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy