Background: Bet v 6, a minor birch pollen allergen, is commercially available for allergen-specific IgE antibody testing. However, there is hardly any literature on the clinical impact of Bet v 6. The aim of the present study was to analyze if testing specific IgE against Bet v 6 can add valuable benefit to the standard diagnostics of birch pollen-sensitized patients, especially in patients with unknown sensitization-eliciting allergens. Methods: Birch pollen-sensitized patients with missing IgE reactivity against Bet v 1, 2, and 4 were tested for specific IgE antibodies against Bet v 6. For comparison, an equal number of randomly selected patients with birch pollen sensitization, regardless of their individual sensitization patterns, were tested for specific anti-Bet v 6. Results: Of 57 cases with missing reactivity against the standard birch pollen allergens, 2 patients were positive for Bet v 6. In the representative sample, 3 patients showed specific IgE against Bet v 6 - resulting in a total prevalence of 5%. None of the Bet v 6-positive patients showed allergic symptoms after exposure to birch pollen or an oral allergy syndrome. An increased prevalence of asthma and a higher degree of sensitization were the only distinctive clinical features in Bet v 6-positive patients. Conclusions: Among birch pollen-sensitized patients, the prevalence of specific IgE against Bet v 6 is low. Further, sensitization to Bet v 6, which shows characteristics of a panallergen, remains clinically silent. Therefore, determination of anti-Bet v 6 is not considered useful in the clinical routine.

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