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Key Allergens

Peanuts (also known as groundnuts and monkey nuts) are legumes rather than tree nuts and grow underground.

There are 18 allergens recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) associated with peanut allergy.

These allergens include 2S seed storage proteins, commonly found in other nuts, seeds and legumes. Peanuts also contain 7S seed stoage proteins, also known as vicilin and 11S seed storage proteins, also known as legumin, which are also found in many seeds and legumes.

Peanuts also contain plant profilin proteins, lipid transfer proteins and Bet v 1 proteins which are associated with Pollen Food Syndrome. These proteins are all considered to be panallergens - having the potential to cause allergic reactions across multiple groups of foods.

More recently there is interest in oleosin proteins, which are found in the oils of certain nuts and seeds and are not denatured by heating. There are 4 oleosin proteins in peanuts which have been shown to cause allergic reactions.

Associated Syndromes

Peanut allergy is often linked to LTP Syndrome, where similarly shaped proteins in other plants resemble those in almonds and elicit an allergic reaction.

You may have Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome if you suffer from peanut allergy with oral allergy symptoms to 3 or more of the foods mentioned in the cross reactivity section.

Allergy to peanut is sometimes linked to Celery-Mugwort-Spice Syndrome as the sensitising allergen is a profilin protein called Art v 4, these proteins are also sometimes also called Bet v 2 proteins.

There is a link between peanuts and Latex Food Syndrome. The plant involved in latex allergy Hevea brasiliensis, the rubber tree plant, has an allergen called Hev b 8 which is a profilin protein. Those very sensitised to latex may have a contact allergic reaction from other foods or plants containing profilin proteins, there is less evidence of this than sensitisation to other latex linked proteins like hevein and chitinases.

Cross Reactivity

Common foods involved in LTP allergy include kiwi, strawberries, sunflower seeds, walnut, apple, mulberry, banana, pea, apricot, cherry, plum, almond, peach pomegranate, raspberry, tomato, grape, celery, peanut, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, chestnut, lemon, tangerine, orange, hazelnut, lettuce, lentils, lupin, green bean, pear, mustard, wheat and maize.

Other fruits containing profilins include celery, lychee, soyabeans, walnut, lupin, almonds, mustard, hazelnut, kiwi, pineapple, chilli, melon, orange, strawberry, apple, banana, aubergine (eggplant), peach, pear, tomato, dates, cherry, carrot, barley and wheat. Allergic reactions to some of these foods may be considered a marker of profilin hypersensitivity.

Other food containing 2S albumin seed storage proteins are cashews, peanuts, almonds, mustard seed, rapeseed, turnip, chickpeas, hazelnuts, pistachio, buckwheat, soya beans, sunflower seeds, walnuts, kiwi, castor beans and sesame seeds.

Other foods containing 7S seed storage proteins not mentioned in the list above are coconut, lupin, lentils, macadamia nuts and peas.

Almonds are the only other tree nut which contain 11S seed storage proteins, but not 7S or 2S proteins.

Other oleosin proteins are found in hazelnuts, buckwheat and sesame seeds.



Allergen Encyclopedia - Peanuts

Science Direct - Peanut Allergy

DermNet NZ - Peanut

Allergy UK - Peanut Allergy

FARE - Peanut Allergy

ACAAI - Peanut Allergies

Anaphylaxis Campaign - Peanut Allergy

Allergy information for: Peanut; ground nuts; monkey nuts (Arachis hypogea)

Articles and Journals

Fatal anaphylaxis due to peanut exposure from oral intercourse

High-resolution epitope mapping by AllerScan reveals relationships between IgE and IgG repertoires during peanut oral immunotherapy, 2021

Current developments in the treatment of peanut allergy, 2021

Peanut oleosins associated with severe peanut allergy-importance of lipophilic allergens for comprehensive allergy diagnostics, 2017

Development of a novel strategy to isolate lipophilic allergens (oleosins) from peanuts, 2015

Peanut defensins: Novel allergens isolated from lipophilic peanut extract, 2015

Detection and structural characterization of natural Ara h 7, the third peanut allergen of the 2S albumin family, 2010

Lipid transfer protein (Ara h 9) as a new peanut allergen relevant for a Mediterranean allergic population, 2009

Ara h 8, a Bet v 1-homologous allergen from peanut, is a major allergen in patients with combined birch pollen and peanut allergy, 2004

Isolation and characterization of two complete Ara h 2 isoforms cDNA, 2003

Molecular cloning and epitope analysis of the peanut allergen Ara h 3, 1999

Selective cloning of peanut allergens, including profilin and 2S albumins, by phage display technology, 1999

Selective cloning of peanut allergens, including profilin and 2S albumins, by phage display technology, 1999

Recombinant peanut allergen Ara h I expression and IgE binding in patients with peanut hypersensitivity, 1995

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