Common wasp (Yellow jacket)

  • Allergen search puff

    SEARCH FOR ALLERGENS

    Search ImmunoCAP allergens and allergen components. Note that all information is in English.

Code: i3
Latin name: Vespula spp.
Source material: Venom
Family: Vespidae
Order: Hymenoptera
 
Among the Vespula species, Vespula vulgaris is the group of yellow jackets that  is responsible for causing the greatest proportion of stings.

Allergen Exposure

Exposure to the venom occurs through stings from disturbed insects. Yellow jackets (Common wasp) are responsible for inflicting the greatest proportion of stings and have a nasty disposition to sting. They live in large colonies of 500-5000 individuals and build their nests in the ground, under logs or in walls. They thrive in cooler climates in the north temperate zones and in Australia, South Africa and Chile. When the weather turns cooler and the food supply runs low, yellow jackets become more aggressive.

Potential Cross-Reactivity

Vespula spp cross-react to a high degree with Dolichovespula spp (Dolichovespula maculata, white-faced hornet, i2 and Dolichovespula arenaria, yellow hornet, i5) and Vespa spp (European hornet, i75), but to a lower degree with Polistes spp (Paper wasp, i4) and Apis mellifera (Honey bee, i1). (1, 9-13)

Clinical Experience

IgE-mediated reactions often present as large local reactions with swelling extending from the sting site. They sometimes include anaphylactic reactions with common symptoms such as urticaria, flushing and angioedema as well as more serious respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms. The reactions can be fatal. Reactions can be both of the immediate and delayed type (1, 7-8).
 
Review
Exposure to the venom occurs through stings from disturbed insects.. Yellow jackets are responsible fore inflicting the greatest proportion of stings and have a nasty disposition. They live in large colonies of  500-5000 individuals and build their nests in the ground, under logs or in walls. They thrive in cooler climates in the north temperate zones and in Australia, South Africa and Chile. When the weather turns cooler and the food supply runs low, yellow jackets become more aggressive.
 
Vespula spp cross-react to a high degree with Dolichovespula spp (Dolichovespula maculata, white-faced hornet, i2 and Dolichovespula arenaria, yellow hornet, i5) and Vespa spp (European hornet, i75) but to a lesser extent with Polistes spp (Paper wasp, i4) and Apis mellifera (Honey bee, i1) (1, 9-13).
IgE-mediated reactions often present as large local reactions with swelling extending from the sting site. They sometimes include anaphylactic reactions with common symptoms such as urticaria, flushing and angioedema as well as more serious respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms. The reactions can be fatal. Reactions can be both of the immediate and delayed type (1, 7-8).
 
The most important allergenic proteins in Vespid venoms are Ag 5, phospholipase and hyaluronidase. These three proteins have molecular weights of about 45 kD, 35 kD and 25 kD respectively (9-12).

The immunological relationship between different Vespula species has been demonstrated by in vitro specific IgE measurements (RAST) and RAST-inhibition studies (13). Significant immunological differences among the species were found and these differences correlated with the morphological, behavioral and ecological characteristics of the species. Cross-reactivity between venoms from yellow jacket (Vespula spp), hornets (Dolichovespula spp, i2 or i5 and Vespa spp, i75) and wasp (Polistes spp, i4) has also been investigated by specific IgE measurements and RAST inhibition studies (2-3). These studies showed that there are varying extents of antigenic cross-reactivity between venoms, depending on the patient sera. The results reflect in part the variable immune response of patients to venoms because venoms are mixtures of allergens. Cross-reactivity between different major allergens from yellow jacket (YJ) and from honeybee and different wasp and hornet species has been identified (4-6). There is a cross-reaction with hyaluronidases from honeybee and YJ , the phospholipases show minimal cross-reaction and antigen 5 is restricted to YJ (vespids) (4). Antigen 5 from YJ contains 204 amino acid residues, and it has 69% and 60% sequence identity with the homologous proteins of the white-faced hornet (i2, Dolichovespula maculata) and the wasp (i4, Polistes annularis), respectively (5-6).

YJ hyaluronidase and phospholipase contain 331 and 300 amino acid residues respectively, and they show 92% and 67% sequence identity with their homologs of white-faced hornet (6). There is greater cross-reactivity between YJ and hornet allergens than between YJ and wasp allergens. The order of cross-reaction of the three vespid allergens is hyaluronidase>antigen 5>phospholipase. The continuous (linear) B-cell epitopes of vespid allergens show greater cross-reactivity than their immunodominant discontinuous epitopes (6).

The prevalence of sensitisation to yellow jackets, as expressed by specific IgE in the serum, has been established in different parts of the world (14-22). The immunological response has been followed during immunotherapy by measurement of allergen-specific (YJ) IgE and IgG antibodies (23-26).

References

  1. Reisman RE. Stinging insect allergy. Clinical Allergy 1992;76:883-94.
  2. Hoffman DR. Allergens in Hymenoptera venom VI. Crossreactivity of human IgE antibodies to the three vespid venoms and between vespid and paper wasp venoms. Ann Allergy 1981;46:304-9.
  3. Reisman RE, Mueller U, Wypych J, Elliott W, Arbesman C. Comparison of the allergenicity and antigenicity of yellow jacket and hornet venoms. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1982;69:268-74. 
  4. Wypych JI, Abeyounis CJ, Reisman RE. Analysis of differing patterns of crossreactivity of honeybee and yellow jacket venom-specific IgE: Use of purified venom fractions. Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol 1989;89:60-6. 
  5. Hoffman DR. Allergens in Hymenoptera venom XXV: The amino acid sequences of antigen 5 molecules and the structural basis of antigenic cross-reactivity. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1993;92:707-16.
  6. King TP, Lu G, Gonzalez M, Qian N, Soldatova L. Yellow jacket venom allergens, hyaluronidase and phospholipase: Sequence similarity and antigenic cross-reactivity with their hornet and wasp homologs and possible implications for clinical allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1996;98:588-600. 
  7. Mueller UR. Insect Sting Allergy. Clinical picture, diagnosis and treatment. Stuttgart New York: Gustav Fischer, 1990. 
  8. Fernándes J, Rodes F, Marti J, Blamca M. Wasp sting anaphylaxis as a cause of death: a case report. Allergol et Immunopathol 1992;20:40-1. 
  9. King TP, Sobotka AK, Alagon A, Kochoumian L, Lichtenstein LM. Protein allergens of White-faced hornet, Yellow hornet, and Yellow jacket venoms. Biochemistry 1978;17:5165-74.
  10. King TP, Alagon AC, Kuan J, Sobotka AK, Lichtenstein LM. Immunochemical studies of Yellow jacket venom proteins. Mol Immunol 1983;20:297-308. 
  11. Hoffman DR, Wood CL. Allergens in Hymenoptera venom XI. Isolation of protein allergens from Vespula maculifrons (yellow jacket) venom. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1984;74:93-103. 
  12. Hoffman DR. Allergens in Hymenoptera venom XVIII. Immunoblotting studies of venom allergens. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1987;80:307-13. 
  13. Hoffman DR, McDonald CA. Allergens in Hymenoptera venom. VIII. Immunological comparison of venoms from six species of Vespula (yellow jackets). Ann Allergy 1982;48:78-81. 
  14. Sabbah A, Langlois P. The Pharmacia CAP system as a new measure of specific IgE. Application in the diagnosis of hypersensitivity to the venom of the Vespula wasp. Allergie et Immunologie 1990;22:173-8. 
  15. Jeep S, Kirchhof E, O'Connor A, Kunkel G. Comparison of the Phadebas RAST with the Pharmacia CAP system for insect venom. Allergy 1992;47:212-7. 
  16. Leimgruber A, Lantin J-P, Frei PC. Comparison of two in vitro assays, RAST and CAP, when applied to the diagnosis of anaphylactic reactions to honeybee or yellow jacket venoms. Allergy 1993;48:415-20. 
  17. Charpin D, Birnbaum J, Vervloet D. Epidemiology of Hymenoptera allergy. Clin Exp Allergy 1994;24:1010-5. 
  18. Björnsson E, Janson C, Plaschke P, Norrman E, Sjöberg O. Venom allergy in adult Swedes: a population study. Allergy 1995;50:800-5. 
  19. Shimizu T, Hory T, Tokuyama K et al. Clinical and immunological surveys of Hymenoptera hypersensitivity in Japanese forestry workers. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1995;74:495-500. 
  20. Schafer T, Przybilla B. IgE antibodies to Hymenoptera venoms in the serum are common in the general population and are related to indications of atopy. Allergy 1996;51:372-7. 
  21. Kalyoncu AF, Demir AU, Ozcan U, Ozkuyumcu C, Sahin AA, Baris YI. Bee and wasp venom allergy in Turkey. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1997;78:408-12. 
  22. Egner W, Ward C, Brown DL, Ewan PW. The frequency and clinical significance of specific IgE to both wasp (Vespula) and honey-bee (Apis) venoms in the same patient. Clin Exp Allergy 1998;28:26-34. 
  23. Jeep S, Meysel U, Kunkel G. IgE, IgG, IgG1 and IgG4 patterns in yellow jacket allergic patients during immunotherapy with a venom depot extract. Clin Exp Allergy 1992;22:297-302. 
  24. Wyss M, Scheitlin T, Stadler BM, Wuthrich B. Immunotherapy with aluminum hydroxide adsorbed insect venom extracts (Alutard SQ): immunologic and clinical results of a prospective study over 3 years. Allergy 1993;48:81-6.
  25. Lerch E, Müller UR. Long-term protection after stopping venom immunotherapy: Results of re-stings in 200 patients. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1998;101:606-12. 
  26. Meier P, Muller U. Evaluation of IgG RAST FEIA for the assay of venom-specific IgG antibodies during venom immunotherapy. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 1998;117:46-51.

 

As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.