Peanut-specific IgE antibodies in asymptomatic Ghanaian children possibly caused by carbohydrate determinant cross-reactivity

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Abstract

Background:

The prevalence of peanut allergy has increased in developed countries, but little is known about developing countries with high peanut consumption and widespread parasitic infections.

Objective:

We sought to investigate peanut allergy in Ghana.

Methods:

In a cross-sectional survey among Ghanaian schoolchildren (n = 1604), data were collected on reported adverse reactions to peanut, peanut sensitization (serum specific IgE and skin reactivity), consumption patterns, and parasitic infections. In a subset (n = 43) IgE against Ara h 1, 2, 3, and 9 as well as cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants (CCDs) was measured by using ImmunoCAP. Cross-reactivity and biological activity were investigated by means of ImmunoCAP inhibition and basophil histamine release, respectively.

Results:

Adverse reactions to peanut were reported in 1.5%, skin prick test reactivity in 2.0%, and IgE sensitization (≥0.35 kU/L) in 17.5% of participants. Moreover, 92.4% of those IgE sensitized to peanut (≥0.35 kU/L) had negative peanut skin prick test responses.Schistosoma haematobiuminfection was positively associated with IgE sensitization (adjusted odds ratio, 2.29; 95% CI, 1.37-3.86). In the subset IgE titers to Ara h 1, 2, 3, and 9 were low (<1.3 kU/L), except for 6 moderately strong reactions to Ara h 9. IgE against peanut was strongly correlated with IgE against CCDs (r= 0.89,P< .0001) and could be almost completely inhibited by CCDs, as well asS haematobiumsoluble egg antigen. Moreover, IgE to peanut showed poor biological activity.

Conclusions:

Parasite-induced IgE against CCDs might account largely for high IgE levels to peanut in our study population of Ghanaian schoolchildren. No evidence of IgE-mediated peanut allergy was found.

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