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Clin Exp Allergy. 2018 Sep;48(9):1206-1213. doi: 10.1111/cea.13208. Epub 2018 Jul 12.

A subset of walnut allergic adults is sensitized to walnut 11S globulin Jug r 4.

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Department of Dermatology/Allergology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Zeist, The Netherlands.
Laboratory of Translational Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Magna Graecia University of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy.



The role of sensitization to commercially available allergens of English walnut (Juglans regia) Jug r 1, 2 and 3 in walnut allergy has been previously investigated in walnut allergic adults and was unable to explain all cases of walnut allergy.


Identify recognized walnut allergens, other than the ones previously investigated (Jug r 1-3), in walnut allergic adults and determine the sensitization frequency and diagnostic value.


Three different in-house walnut extracts were prepared and analysed on SDS-PAGE blots to identify allergenic walnut proteins. Immunoblots and immunoprecipitation, followed by LC-MS analysis, were performed to screen for, and confirm, IgE binding to walnut allergens in selected walnut allergic adults. In a cohort of 55 walnut challenged adults, including 33 allergic and 22 tolerant, sensitization to native and recombinant walnut allergen Jug r 4 was assessed using immunoblotting and immuno-line blot (EUROLINE), respectively.


Screening of sera of 8 walnut allergic adults identified Jug r 4 as an allergen in our population. In the total cohort of 55 subjects, 5 were positive for Jug r 4 on immunoblot and 10 on EUROLINE. All but one EUROLINE positive subject had a positive food challenge (sensitivity 27%, specificity 95%, PPV 90%, NPV 47%). All 5 subjects positive on immunoblot were also positive on EUROLINE. LC-MS analysis showed a lack of Jug r 4 in the ImmunoCAP extract. Co-sensitization to other 11S albumins (eg hazelnut Cor a 9) was common in Jug r 4 sensitized subjects, potentially due to cross-reactivity.


Walnut 11S globulin Jug r 4 is a relevant minor allergen, recognized by 27% of walnut allergic adults. It has a high positive predictive value of 90% for walnut allergy. Specific IgE against Jug r 4 occurred mostly with concomitant sensitization to other walnut components, mainly Jug r 1.


11s globulin; Jug r 4; double blind placebo controlled food challenge; immunoblot; walnut allergy


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