To cite this article: Asarnoj A, Östblom E, Ahlstedt S, Hedlin G, Lilja G, van Hage M, Wickman M. Reported symptoms to peanut between 4 and 8 years among children sensitized to peanut and birch pollen – results from the BAMSE birth cohort. Allergy 2010; 65: 213–219.
Background: Specific IgE tests are sometimes difficult to interpret due to structural similarities between certain food and pollen allergens. This may be the reason why concomitant sensitization to peanut and birch pollen is frequently seen. The aim of this study was to investigate reported symptoms to peanut- and birch pollen in relation to sensitization.
Methods: The data originate from 1928 children in the BAMSE birth cohort. Background factors and clinical parameters were obtained and the levels of IgE antibodies to peanut and birch pollen measured at 4 and 8 years.
Results: IgE antibodies to peanut were found in 5.5% and 7.4% of the children at 4 and 8 years, respectively. The IgE antibody levels to peanut were higher in children sensitized to peanut but not birch than in children sensitized to peanut and birch among both 4- and 8-year-olds (P = 0.093 and P = 0.003, respectively). Eight-year-olds sensitized to peanut but not birch, more often reported symptoms to peanut than children sensitized to both peanut and birch pollen (76%vs 46%, P = 0.002). The probability of reported symptoms to peanut increased significantly with increasing IgE levels to peanut, especially in 8-year-olds not sensitized to birch.
Conclusions: Children sensitized to both peanut and birch pollen are less likely to report symptoms to peanut than children sensitized to peanut but not to birch pollen at 8 years. This is likely due to cross reactions between birch pollen and peanut and can explain the high sensitization rate to peanut in areas where birch trees are common.