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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Feb;123(2):342-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2008.11.004. Epub 2009 Jan 3.

Peanuts can contribute to anaphylactic shock by activating complement.

Author information

1
Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; Division of Immunology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Peanut allergy is the most common food-related cause of lethal anaphylaxis and, unlike other food allergies, typically persists into adulthood. Resistance to digestion and dendritic cell activation by the major peanut allergen Ara h 1 are reported to contribute to its allergenicity.

OBJECTIVE:

We sought to evaluate whether peanut molecules might also promote anaphylaxis through an innate immune mechanism.

METHODS:

Naive mice were treated with a beta-adrenergic receptor antagonist and long-acting IL-4 to increase sensitivity to vasoactive mediators and injected with peanut extract (PE). Shock was detected and quantified by means of rectal thermometry. Gene-deficient mice and specific antagonists were used to determine the roles of specific cell types, complement, Fc receptors, and vasoactive mediators in shock pathogenesis.

RESULTS:

PE induces dose-dependent shock. PE activates complement in vivo in mice and in vitro in mice and human subjects. C3a and, to a lesser extent, stimulatory immunoglobulin receptors contribute to PE-induced shock. PE-induced shock depends more on macrophages and basophils than on mast cells. Platelet-activating factor and, to a lesser extent, histamine contribute to PE-induced shock. PE induces shock in the absence of the adaptive immune system. LPS contamination is not responsible for PE-induced shock. PE and IgE-mediated mast cell degranulation synergistically induce shock. Tree nuts have similar effects to PE, and skim milk and egg white do not.

CONCLUSION:

Peanuts can contribute to shock by causing production of C3a, which stimulates macrophages, basophils, and mast cells to produce platelet-activating factor and histamine.

Comment in

PMID:
19121857
PMCID:
PMC2670761
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaci.2008.11.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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