Could mosquito bites facilitate IgE sensitization to food and inhalant allergens?

Anne Caroline Curtz*, René Bødker, Lene Heise Garvey, Jesper Elberling

*Corresponding author for this work


We present an hypothesis that arthropod bites and stings can induce sensitization to concomitantly introduced food and inhalant allergens in human, and that contents of the sting and bite such as venom and saliva proteins act as adjuvants further facilitating sensitization. In food allergen sensitization, evidence presently supports the hypothesis that exposure through a disrupted skin-barrier is allergenic, and exposure to food proteins through ingestion is tolerogenic. Stinging and biting arthropods that breach skin barrier are known to provide IgE sensitization to their own venom and salivary allergens e. g. Hymenoptera and mosquito. Murine experiments have shown that content of venom from honeybee (phospholipase 2 (PLA2) and hyaluronidase) facilitate IgE sensitization to a concomitantly introduced food allergen in the skin. Conserved biomolecules in saliva and venom present in several arthropod species (e.g. PLAs and hyaluronidases) are suggested to play a role as adjuvants in sensitization to concomitantly presented allergens during arthropod stings and bites. Tick bites have been shown to provide IgE sensitization to tick salivary allergens and IgE sensitization to non-primate mammalian red blood cell allergen Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, causing allergy to non-primate red meat, termed Alpha-gal syndrome (AGS). Mosquitos may take up allergens such as pathogenesis related proteins (e.g. lipid transfer proteins (LTPs), and PR-10) when feeding on plant nectar and sap and may take up animal derived allergens such as immunoglobulins, serum albumins and lipocalins from feeding on blood. It is proposed that plant and animal allergens, important in human allergic disease are carried on mouthparts or in gut of mosquitos and transferred into the skin of a human host during a mosquito bite. We hypothesize that sensitization to common food and inhalant allergens can occur facilitated by a mosquito bite, possibly facilitated by adjuvant factors such as PLA2 and hyaluronidase in mosquito saliva. The hypothesis may provide insight into basic mechanisms in IgE sensitization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111214
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Arthropod
  • IgE allergy
  • Mosquito
  • Phospholipase
  • Sensitization


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