Peanut allergy: Clinical and immunologic differences among patients from 3 different geographic regions.
BACKGROUND: Peanut allergy affects persons from various geographic regions where populations are exposed to different dietary habits and environmental pollens. OBJECTIVE: We sought to describe the clinical and immunologic characteristics of patients with peanut allergy from 3 countries (Spain, the United States, and Sweden) using a molecular component diagnostic approach. METHODS: Patients with peanut allergy from Madrid (Spain, n = 50), New York (United States, n = 30), Gothenburg, and Stockholm (both Sweden, n = 35) were enrolled. Clinical data were obtained either from a specific questionnaire or gathered from chart reviews. IgE antibodies to peanut extract and the peanut allergens rAra h 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9, as well as to cross-reactive birch (rBet v 1) and grass (rPhl p 1, 5, 7, and 12) pollen allergens, were analyzed. RESULTS: American patients frequently had IgE antibodies to rAra h 1 to 3 (56.7% to 90.0%) and often presented with severe symptoms. Spanish patients recognized these 3 recombinant peanut allergens less frequently (16.0% to 42.0%), were more often sensitized to the lipid transfer protein rAra h 9 (60.0%), and typically had peanut allergy after becoming allergic to other plant-derived foods. Swedish patients detected rAra h 1 to 3 more frequently than Spanish patients (37.1% to 74.3%) and had the highest sensitization rate to the Bet v 1 homologue rAra h 8 (65.7%), as well as to rBet v 1 (82.9%). Spanish and Swedish patients became allergic to peanut at 2 years or later, whereas the American children became allergic around 1 year of age. CONCLUSIONS: Peanut allergy has different clinical and immunologic patterns in different areas of the world. Allergen component diagnostics might help us to better understand this complex entity.