BACKGROUND: Skin test reactivity to hymenoptera venom and venom-specific IgE are important for diagnosing venom allergy and deciding on the appropriate allergen for venom immunotherapy (VIT). Longitudinal data on skin test reactivity during VIT and their correlation with venom-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)E and IgG are scarce.
METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed shifts in skin test reactivity and serum levels of venom-specific IgE and IgG in patients allergic to hymenoptera venom before the initiation of VIT with ultrarush therapy and after ≥3 years of VIT.
RESULTS: Fifty-four patients received ultrarush desensitization and subsequent VIT with wasp venom, 26 with honeybee venom, and 8 with both wasp and honeybee venom. Hymenoptera-specific skin test reactivity decreased during VIT in most patients, and became negative in 8% of the wasp-allergic patients and in 25% of the honeybee-allergic patients. Serum levels of venom-specific IgE positively correlated to skin test reactivity before VIT, but did not change significantly during VIT. IgG serum levels and the IgG/IgE ratio increased during VIT in most patients. A high IgG/IgE ratio correlated with low skin test reactivity after ≥3 years of VIT.
CONCLUSIONS: The correlation between a high venom-specific IgG/IgE ratio and low skin test reactivity after VIT may be interesting for future investigations that assess its role as a potential marker for VIT efficacy.