Genetic predisposition to peanut 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.

Food allergy is an adverse immune response to certain foods. Food allergens are diverse, the most common being cow's milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. In the last twenty years the prevalence of food allergy has increased markedly and now affects 8% of children and 11% of the adult population.

Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children, affecting 3% in the USA and 9.5% in Australia. Common 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 food allergy is relevant.

Peanut allergy can appear during childhood and persist into adulthood, in the same way as nut allergy, seed allergy, fish allergy and shellfish allergy. Symptoms of peanut allergy usually develop within minutes to about two hours after ingestion of peanuts. Symptoms of peanut allergy can be highly variable (mild to severe) and include: itchy mouth, hives, redness, nausea and vomiting.

A family history of food allergy is considered one of the main risk factors, which is increased by 2 to 10 times. This suggests that in addition to environmental factors, genetics may play an important role in the development of food allergy.

Genes analyzed

HLA-DRA LOC100507686

Bibliography

Asai Y., Eslami A., et al. Genome-wide association study and meta-analysis in multiple populations identifies new loci for peanut allergy and establishes C11orf30/EMSY as a genetic risk factor for food allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 Mar;141(3):991-1001.

Czolk R., Klueber J., et al. IgE-Mediated Peanut Allergy: Current and Novel Predictive Biomarkers for Clinical Phenotypes Using Multi-Omics Approaches. Front Immunol. 2021 Jan 28;11:594350.

Hong X., Hao K., et al. Genome-wide association study identifies peanut allergy-specific loci and evidence of epigenetic mediation in US children. Nat Commun. 2015 Feb 24;6:6304.

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