Differences among heat-treated, raw, and commercial peanut extracts by skin testing and immunoblotting
BACKGROUND: Peanut allergenicity has been reported to be influenced by heat treatment, yet the commonly available extracts for skin prick testing (SPT) are derived from raw extracts. OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of heat treatment on the SPT reactivity and specific IgE binding to peanut. METHODS: Three commercial extracts and 3 laboratory-prepared extracts, including raw, roasted, and boiled, were used for SPT in 19 patients with suspected peanut allergy and in 4 individuals who eat peanut without any symptoms. Serum samples were obtained to measure total IgE in addition to specific IgE binding to the study extracts by immunoblotting. Peanut allergy was confirmed with challenge test unless the individual had a convincing history of a severe reaction. RESULTS: Eleven study participants were considered peanut allergic based on a strong history or positive challenge test result. SPT with the prepared and commercial reagents showed that the boiled extract had the highest specificity (67% vs 42%-63% for the other extracts). The prepared extracts showed similar SPT sensitivity (81%). Three patients with a history of severe reaction and elevated specific IgE levels to peanut to the 3 study extracts had variable SPT reactivity to 1 or more of the commercial extracts. IgE binding to Ara h 2 was found in nearly all patients, regardless of their clinical reactivity. CONCLUSIONS: None of the extracts tested showed optimal diagnostic reliability regarding both sensitivity and specificity. Perhaps testing should be performed with multiple individual extracts prepared by different methods.
A boy with fever, lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly, and lymphocytosis [Case Report]
Proliferation of the lymphoid system should arouse suspicion of a potentially serious illness. We present a 4.5-year-old boy who developed fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly, lymphocytosis, anemia, thrombocytopenia, and increased liver enzymes. Lymph node and bone marrow biopsies showed lymphoproliferation, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, and hemophagocytosis leading to the diagnosis of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Chemotherapy was initiated for HLH with dexamethasone, etoposide, and cyclosporine. Because of a high level of EBV viremia, rituximab was added a few days later and resulted in a remarkable drop in the EBV in the circulation but not in the cerebrospinal fluid. However, the patient succumbed to encephalitis, pneumonia, and cardiopulmonary failure. Autopsy revealed the presence of EBV in the brain, indicating the ineffectiveness of rituximab therapy in treating central nervous system infection with EBV.
Risk factors for the development of food allergy
Both genetic and environmental factors seem to predispose to the development of food allergy. A most notable factor is diet, particularly during infancy. Possible other factors include maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation, birth by cesarean section, exposure to tobacco smoke, multivitamin supplementation, and intake of antacids. It is important to identify and control such risk factors to reduce the development of food allergy.