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Keywords:

  • peanut allergy;
  • exhaled nitric oxide;
  • asthma

Hughes JL, Brown T, Edgar JD, Shields MD. Peanut allergy and allergic airways inflammation. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: 1107–1113. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S

Asthma is a major risk cofactor for anaphylactic deaths in children with peanut allergy. Peanut allergy is generally thought to be a lifelong condition, but some children outgrow their coexistent asthma. It has recently been shown that children who have ‘outgrown’ their asthma symptoms may have ongoing eosinophilic airways inflammation. The need for regular inhaled corticosteroid treatment in peanut allergic children and adolescents who have outgrown their asthma is however unclear. The aims of our study were to look at fractional exhaled nitric oxide levels (FeNO), as a non-invasive marker of eosinophilic airways inflammation, in peanut allergic children and assess whether children with outgrown asthma had elevated levels. Children with peanut allergy were recruited at two pediatric allergy clinics in Belfast, UK. Exhaled nitric oxide levels (FeNO) were measured using the Niox Mino in all children. Of the 101 peanut allergic children who consented for enrolment in the study, 94 were successfully able to use the NIOX Mino. Age range was 4–15 yr (median 10 yr); 61% were boys. Thirty (32%) had never wheezed, 37 (39%) had current treated asthma, 20 (21%) had at least 1 wheezing episode within the last year but were not taking any regular asthma medication (wheeze no treatment), and 7 (7%) had outgrown asthma. All children with outgrown asthma had elevated levels of FeNO (>35 ppb), and 75% of children defined as ‘wheeze no treatment’ had elevated FeNO levels (>35 ppb). Outgrown asthma and children defined as ‘wheeze no treatment’ had higher levels of FeNO than those with no history of wheeze or current treated asthma (p = 0.003). In children with peanut allergy, we found that those who had outgrown asthma had elevated FeNO levels in keeping with ongoing eosinophilic airways inflammation.