Background: In the southeastern United States, imported fire ants have caused systemic reactions with a high incidence. On the contrary, in Korea Pachycondyla species ants (P chinensis and P solitaria), and the family Formicidae, which are in the genus Pachycondyla and the subfamily Ponerinae, have only occasionally caused systemic reactions. Objective: We sought to assess whether commercially available imported fire ant extract would be useful in treating patients with anaphylaxis induced by venom from a Pachycondyla species ant. Methods: Serum samples were collected from 2 women who had anaphylaxis induced by Pachycondyla species ant venom and from 6 volunteers with no history of having been stung. Specific IgE to Pachycondyla species ant extracts was measured by means of ELISA and possible allergenic components by immunoblot. Cross-reactivity between Pachycondyla chinensis, P solitaria, and imported fire ant extracts was also measured by inhibitory ELISA. Results: Skin prick test responses were strongly positive to the extract of P chinensis (1:20 wt/vol) in the patient. Ten healthy volunteers exhibited negative responses. The 2 patients' sera exhibited high ELISA values, with absorbencies of 0.78 and 0.61 for P chinensis and 0.83 and 0.68 for P solitaria, respectively, and negative ELISA values for the extract of imported fire ants (absorbency <0.01). Imported fire ants showed no inhibition of the IgE binding to P chinensis or P solitaria. Possible allergenic components of Pachycondyla species ant extracts are 29- and 27-kd proteins and, less frequently, 16 kd proteins. Conclusion: Our data suggest that patients who have had an anaphylactic reaction to a Pachycondyla species ant might not benefit from immunotherapy with an imported fire ant extract. Immunotherapy with the extract of Pachycondyla species ants is expected to be highly effective.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy