Antigenic and allergenic analysis of psyllium seed components.


Arlian LG, Vyszenski-Moher DL, Lawrence AT, Schrotel KR , Ritz HL




J Allergy Clin Immunol


The outer portions (husk) of psyllium seeds are a concentrated source of natural fiber used in some bulk-fiber laxatives and cereals. They are known to elicit respiratory allergic reactions after inhalation or ingestion among sensitized individuals. Antigenic and allergenic characterization of three psyllium-seed fractions (husk, endosperm, and embryo) was conducted with crossed immunoelectrophoresis (CIE), crossed radioimmunoelectrophoresis, and sodium dodecyl sulfate- polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis to determine the source of psyllium allergenicity. Homologous CIE demonstrated psyllium endosperm and embryo extracts contained seven and four antigens, respectively. Husk extracts were too gelatinous to react by CIE. However, heterologous CIE profiles of endosperm or embryo extracts, reacted with antihusk antibodies, resulted in antigen-antibody precipitin peaks that matched the heavy staining precipitin lines of homologous reactions for endosperm and embryo, respectively. These results indicated that commercial-grade husk, endosperm, and embryo contained similar antigens. Extracts of all three seed components contained antigens that bound IgE antibodies in the sera of 11 psyllium RAST-positive individuals, as determined by crossed radioimmunoelectrophoresis. The few prominent husk protein/peptide bands resolved by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis were common in either embryo or endosperm. Immunoblots revealed common IgE reactive bands in all three seed fractions. Microscopic examination of the powdered commercial-grade psyllium (95% pure) revealed it contained endosperm and embryo particles. These immunologic, biochemical, and microscopic findings suggest that other contaminating seed components are primarily responsible for the allergenicity of commercial-grade psyllium-husk powder rather than the husk itself.