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Genetic predisposition to peanut allergy

What is a food allergy? 

A food allergy is an adverse immune response to certain foods. Food allergens are diverse, the most common of which are cow's milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. The prevalence of food allergies has increased markedly over the last twenty years and now affects 8% of children and 11% of the adult population. Peanut allergy is one of the most widespread food allergies in children, affecting 3% in the United States and 9.5% in Australia. Typical food allergens in Asia are different from those observed in Western countries and it is suggested that the contribution of the environment to the development of a food allergy is relevant.  

Peanut allergy 

Peanut allergy can appear during childhood and persist into adulthood, as well as allergy to nuts, seeds, fish and shellfish. 

Symptoms of peanut allergy usually develop within minutes to about two hours and can be mild to severe and include itchy mouth and hives after ingestion of peanuts. 

Causes of allergy 

The development of food allergy, as a complex condition, is influenced by both genetics and environment, as well as genome-environment interactions, including epigenetics. 

Genetics role in predisposition to peanut allergy 

Genetics plays an important role in the development of food allergy, as has been shown in family and twin studies. Having a family history of food allergy is considered one of the major risk factors for food allergy and increases the risk of developing food allergy by 2-10 times. The genes most studied in relation to food allergy are HLA (major histocompatibility complex) and FLG (filaggrin). 

There are two variants most strongly associated with predisposition to peanut allergy, specifically rs7192 and rs9275596 SNPs, studied by our geneticists to determine predisposition to peanut allergy through our genetic test. 

Prevention 

Given the progressive increase in food allergies worldwide, the search for prevention strategies has intensified in recent years. Among these approaches, it is generally accepted that the early introduction of such food could reduce the risk of developing allergy. In any case, it is important that families with infants with a history of eczema or suspected food allergy consult a doctor before introducing this food into their diet. 

Gene or region studied

  • 6:32681631
  • HLA-DRA
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