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Rosenfeld L, Shreffler W, Bardina L, Niggemann B, Wahn U, Sampson HA, Beyer K. Walnut allergy in peanut-allergic patients: significance of sequential epitopes of walnut homologous to linear epitopes of Ara h 1, 2 and 3 in relation to clinical reactivity. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2012;157(3):238-45.
BACKGROUND: Peanut allergy is a frequent and potentially life-threatening food allergy. Despite the large taxonomic distance between the plants, peanut-allergic patients often react to tree nuts such as walnuts. While the allergens of peanut and walnut have a high degree of homology in their amino-acid sequences, it is unknown whether this similarity is responsible for the observed co-reactivity. Therefore, we analyzed the binding of specific IgE antibodies to sequential epitopes of peanut and walnut in peanut-allergic patients with and without walnut allergy.
METHODS: The IgE binding to previously described sequential epitopes of peanut and the homologous regions of walnut was assessed in 32 peanut-allergic patients using a peptide microarray technology. Twelve patients had a clinically relevant walnut allergy and 20 were tolerant to walnut. Inhibition assays with peanut peptides and corresponding walnut sequences were performed to show specific binding to sequential epitopes.
RESULTS: No differences in the recognition of sequential epitopes could be found between peanut-allergic patients with or without walnut allergy. Only a few patients showed IgE binding to walnut sequences that corresponded to sequential epitopes of peanut. In the inhibition assays, no relevant cross-reacting IgE antibodies could be detected for the peptides analyzed.
CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that although they share a rather high degree of homology with the corresponding regions of walnut allergens, the sequence stretches previously identified as sequential IgE binding epitopes of Ara h 1, Ara h 2 and Ara h 3 have no IgE binding equivalents in walnut allergens.