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Noorbakhsh R, Mortazavi SA, Sankian M, Shahidi F, Tehrani M, Azad FJ, Behmanesh F, Varasteh A. Pistachio allergy-prevalence and in vitro cross-reactivity with other nuts. Allergol Int. 2011 Dec;60(4):425-32.
BACKGROUND: Tree nut allergy is characterized by a high frequency of life-threatening reactions and is typically lifelong persistent. Some people with a pistachio nut allergy, which is common in the pistachio rich area of Iran, develop a hypersensitivity to other tree nuts as well. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of pistachio nut allergy in Iran, the major pistachio cultivation region in the world. The study also addressed the presence of allergenic cross-reactivity between pistachio and other nuts, including almond, peanut, and cashew in pistachio allergic patients.
METHODS: A survey was conducted to determine whether the prevalence of pistachio allergy is affected by exposure to this nut in pistachio cultivation regions, as well as possible cross-reactivity between pistachio and other nuts including cashew, almond, and peanut. Inhibition Western blot and inhibition ELISA studies were conducted to assess the presence of allergenic cross-reactivity between pistachio and the other tree nuts.
RESULTS: Our results revealed that the prevalence of pistachio allergy is twice as much in pistachio cultivation regions than other areas. Western blotting and inhibition ELISA presented high percentages of inhibition with pistachio and cashew, followed by almond and, to some degree, peanut which indicates different levels of allergenic cross-reactivity.
CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that exposure of people to pistachio significantly affects the prevalence of its allergic reactions. In addition, it was observed that, among pistachio allergic subjects, such exposure may affect the co-sensitivities with other nuts, including cashew and almond. The plant taxonomic classification of pistachio and other tree nuts does appear to predict allergenic cross-reactivity.