Polistes wasps cause a majority of Hymenoptera-induced anaphylactic reactions in Texas. Using the in vitro release of histamine from basophils of patients allergic to Polistes stings, we have studied the cross-reactivity of venoms from three species of Polistes wasps as well as the cross-reactivity among Polistes, honeybee, and Vespula maculifrons (yellow jacket) venoms. Venom collected by an extrusion technique from Pollistes exclamans, Pollistes apachus, and Pollistes Carolina caused release of histamine in seven Polistes-sensitive individuals. The dose-response curves from all three Polistes species were quite similar, suggesting extensive cross-reactivity among these species. None of these patients showed significant release of histamine from leukocytes exposed to yellow jacket or honeybee venom. We conclude that a source of Polistes venom is available for further study and possibly for therapy. It appears that any of three local common species of Polistes wasps could be used. Our studies confirmed earlier reports that Hymenoptera sensitivity is often genus-specific.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy