Clinical Allergy to Hazelnut and Peanut: Identification of T Cell Cross-Reactive Allergens

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Background: Peanut and tree nut allergies are life-threatening conditions for many affected individuals worldwide. Currently there is no cure. While co-allergy to peanut and tree nuts is a common clinical observation, and IgE cross-reactivity between peanut and tree nuts is reported, T cell crossreactivity is poorly defined. Methods: Hazelnut-specific Tcell lines were established using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 5 subjects with co-allergy to hazelnut and peanut. These lines were stimulated with hazelnut and peanut extracts and purified major peanut allergens, Ara h 1 and Ara h 2. Proliferation was determined by 3 H-thymidine incorporation and secretion of key Th1 (IFN- I? ) and Th2 (IL-5) cytokines analysed by ELISA. Results: Hazelnut-specific T cell lines from all 5 subjects proliferated upon stimulation with both hazelnut and peanut extracts and for 4 subjects, to Ara h 1 and/or Ara h 2. Proliferating cells were mainly CD4+ T cells and produced both IL-5 and IFN- I? in response to hazelnut and peanut stimulation. Mitogenicity of extracts and allergens was excluded by their lack of stimulation of house dust mite-specific T cells. Conclusion: Our finding that hazelnut and peanut co-allergy is associated with cross-reactive T cell responses, driven partly by cross-reactivity to the major peanut allergens Ara h 1 and Ara h 2, points to future development of allergen immunotherapy by targeting cross-reactive T cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345 - 354
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Archives of Allergy and Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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