Allergy information for: Lychee (Litchi chinensis)

  • Name: Lychee
  • Scientific Name: Litchi chinensis
  • Occurrence:
  • Allergy Information:
  • Other Information:

    The edible portion of lychee is a fruit with a tough skin. This has caused some confusion as lychee are sometimes called nuts (for example, litchi nut using the French or Latin word for lychee). However, the seeds of lychee are inedible Thus although lychee is distantly related to cashew, the allergenic properties may be different as fruits and nuts generally contain different allergens (cf. almond and cherry).

  • Taxonomic Information: NEWT
  • Last modified: 18 October 2006

Reviews (0)

    References (0)

      Clinical History

      • Number of Studies:1-5
      • Number of Patients:1-5
      • Symptoms:

        Swelling of lips, pruritus, generalized urticaria and dyspnea (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887].

        Fah et al. 1995 [889] have reported a case of anaphylaxis after eating lychee fruits.

      Skin Prick Test

      • Number of Studies:1-5
      • Food/Type of allergen:

        Fresh and canned lychee fruits (Fah et al. 1995) [889]

        Raw lychee (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887]

      • Protocol: (controls, definition of positive etc)

        Prick to prick (Fah et al. 1995) [889]

        Positive control used was 10 mg/ml histamine dihydrochloride (wheal size 6 mm) Niggemann et al. 2002) [887]

      • Number of Patients:

        A 23-year-old woman (Fah et al. 1995) [889]

        A 12-year-old girl (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887]

      • Summary of Results:

        SPT was positive to fresh and canned lychee fruit (wheal size >5 mm) (Fah et al. 1995) [889]

        A positive skin prick test could be shown to raw lychee (wheal size 11 mm), and latex extract (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887]

      IgE assay (by RAST, CAP etc)

      • Number of Studies:0
      • Food/Type of allergen:

        Extracts from uncooked fruits by a low temperature method (Fah et al. 1995) [889]

        Commercial extracs (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887]

      • IgE protocol:

        EAST (Fah et al. 1995) [889]

        CAP (Pharmacia) (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887]

      • Number of Patients:

        A 23-year-old woman (Fah et al. 1995) [889]

        A 12-year-old girl (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887]

      • Summary of Results:

        Specific IgE could be detected to lychee (EAST class 2) by Fah et al. (1995) [889]

        No specific IgE could be detected to lychee by Niggemann et al. (2002) [887]. Furthermore, specific IgG to lychee was low (7.8 mg/l) and specific IgG4 was below the detection limit.


      • Immunoblotting separation:

        Lychee proteins were separated on 13% homogeneous gel and 5% stacking acrylamidegels under reducing conditions (Fah et al. 1995) [889]

        Method not described by Niggemann et al. (2002) [887]

      • Immunoblotting detection method:

        The proteins were transferred onto 0.2 ┬Ám of nitrocellulose membranes using a semi-dry electroblotting device. The nitrocellulose membrane was incubated with patient sera. IgE antibody detection was performed with peroxidase-conjugated anti-human IgE (Fah et al. 1995).

        Method not described by Niggemann et al. (2002) [887]

      • Immunoblotting results:

        An immunoblot using an extract of raw lychee showed no reaction to lychee, but a strong response to the latex allergen Hev b 7 (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887].

        Serum IgE from a single patient recognised two bands of 16 and 43 kDa (Fah et al. 1995) [889]

      Oral provocation

      • Number of Studies:1-5
      • Food used and oral provocation vehicle:Raw lychee (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887]
      • Blind:No (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887]
      • Number of Patients:A 12-year-old girl (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887]
      • Dose response:Not indicated.
      • Symptoms:Upon a titrated oral provocation no symptoms were noted within 1 h with a quarter raw lychee fruit. However, after eating half a lychee the patient developed restlessness, flush, generalized urticaria and inspiratory stridor after 50 min. (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887]

      IgE cross-reactivity and Polysensitisation

      Cross-reactivity with latex (Niggemann et al. 2002) [887]

      Immunoblot inhibition results indicated a 16 kDa allergen as the cross-reactive protein between birch pollen, celery and lychee (Fah et al. 1995) [889]

      Wellhausen et al. 1996 [888] and Vieths et al. 1998 [886] identified an IgE-binding 35-kDa protein from birch pollen (Bet v 5) with cross-reacting homologs in various plant foods, including lychee.

      Other Clinical information

      Reviews (0)

        References (4)

        • Vieths S, Frank E, Scheurer S, Meyer HE, Hrazdina G, Haustein D
          Characterization of a new IgE-binding 35-kDa protein from birch pollen with cross-reacting homologues in various plant foods
          Scand J Immunol. 47(3):263-72. 1998
          PUBMEDID: 9519865
        • Niggemann B, Reibel S, Hipler C, Wahn U
          Anaphylactic reaction to lychee in a 12-year-old girl: cross-reactivity to latex?
          Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 13(1):64-7. 2002
          PUBMEDID: 12000501
        • Wellhausen A, Schoning B, Petersen A, Vieths S
          IgE binding to a new cross-reactive structure: a 35 kDa protein in birch pollen, exotic fruit and other plant foods
          Z Ernahrungswiss. 35(4):348-55. 1996
          PUBMEDID: 9000332
        • Fah J, Wuthrich B, Vieths S
          Anaphylactic reaction to lychee fruit: evidence for sensitization to profilin
          Clin Exp Allergy. 25(10):1018-23.. 1995
          PUBMEDID: 8556556