T cell responses to major peanut allergens in children with and without peanut allergy


E. van Hoffen, Department of Dermatology/Allergology, UMC Utrecht, G02.124, PO Box 85500, 3508 GA, Utrecht, The Netherlands. E-mail: e.vanhoffen@umcutrecht.nl


Background T cell responses involved in peanut allergy are poorly understood.

Objective To investigate T cell responses towards major peanut allergens in peanut-allergic (PA) subjects compared with peanut-sensitized (PS) non-allergic children and non-atopic (NA) controls.

Methods Eighteen PA children, seven non-allergic PS children and 11 NA adults were included. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were stimulated with a crude peanut extract (CPE). Short-term T cell lines were generated and subsequently stimulated with CPE and purified Ara h 1, Ara h 2, Ara h 3 and Ara h 6. The proliferation and production of IL-13, IFN-γ, IL-10 and TNF-α were analysed.

Results Proliferation to CPE and major allergens was enhanced in PA subjects. The primary response to CPE was comparable with PS subjects, with increased production of IL-13 and IFN-γ compared with NA. Production of IL-10 was not observed. In short-term T cell lines, the response to CPE was stronger in PA than in PS and NA subjects. Only PA children had a detectable response to major peanut allergens, characterized by IL-13 production. The response was the highest after Ara h 3 stimulation, and the lowest after Ara h 2 stimulation. No significant correlation was observed between peanut-specific IgE levels and T cell responses to CPE.

Conclusion T cell responses to CPE in PA and PS children were characterized by Th1 and Th2 cytokines. Only PA children showed enhanced Th2 responses to Ara h 1, Ara h 3 and Ara h 6.

Cite this as: A. E. Flinterman, S. G. M. A. Pasmans, C. F. den Hartog Jager, M. O. Hoekstra, C. A. F. M. Bruijnzeel-Koomen, E. F. Knol and E. van Hoffen, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2010 (40) 590–597.