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

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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.


We sought to investigate peanut allergy in Ghana.


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.


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.


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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