Peanut al­lergy linked to genes

UBC also finds ex­po­sure can trig­ger other con­di­tions

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - VANCOUVER / CANADA - Wanyee li

If you have a peanut al­lergy, you can blame it on your genes, ac­cord­ing to new re­search from St. Paul’s Hospi­tal and UBC. Re­searchers have pin­pointed sev­eral genes that are pre­dis­posed to peanut al­lergy and food al­ler­gies in general.

“Now we know that pea- nut al­lergy and food al­ler­gies are ge­netic and there are ge­netic sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ties,” said Dr. Denise Da­ley, prin­ci­ple in­ves­ti­ga­tor at the Institute for Heart and Lung Re­search at St. Paul’s Hospi­tal, and an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at UBC.

“If you al­ready have some­body in your fam­ily that has a peanut al­lergy, you are more at risk for de­vel­op­ing peanut al­lergy.”

Da­ley’s team also have rea­son to be­lieve these spe­cific genes reg­u­late the epigenome, which turns genes on and off de­pend­ing on en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­po­sures. Other stud­ies have shown that not ex­pos­ing ba­bies to peanuts at an early age ac­tu­ally puts them at greater risk for de­vel­op­ing a peanut al­lergy.

“We are close to be­ing able to iden­tify pa­tients that would be at greater risk [for al­ler­gies] and by un­der­stand­ing the mech­a­nism, that also im­proves our abil­ity to de­velop treat­ment,” she said.

The find­ings could also help those who suf­fer from other ill­nesses like hayfever, asthma, or eczema, be­cause the gene re­spon­si­ble for food al­ler­gies can also trig­ger those con­di­tions.

“This study could be a foun­da­tion for iden­ti­fy­ing those who have a ge­netic dis­po­si­tion and be­ing able to say, what other con­di­tions are you at risk for,” said Da­ley.

“Eighty per cent of asth­mat­ics also have one or more forms of al­ler­gic dis­eases.”

“It may be that there are dif­fer­ences in the ex­po­sures that po­ten­tially de­ter­mine what kind of al­lergy you get or what your pre­sent­ing com­plaints may be.”

About 1 per cent of adults and two to three per cent of chil­dren suf­fer from peanut al­lergy in Canada.

Re­searchers an­a­lyzed ge­netic in­for­ma­tion from 30,000 peo­ple in Canada, Aus­tralia, the Nether­lands, United States, and Ger­many for this study.

Dr. Yuka Asai, an Al­ler­Gen in­ves­ti­ga­tor, As­sis­tant pro­fes­sor at Queen’s Univer­sity, and Ad­junct pro­fes­sor at McGill Univer­sity, and Al­ler­Gen trainee Dr. Aida Es­lami, a post­doc­toral fel­low at The Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia, were co-first au­thors on the paper.

The study was pub­lished in The Jour­nal of Al­lergy and Clin­i­cal Im­munol­ogy.

Pa­trick Si­Son/the aS­So­ci­ated PreSS

Peo­ple with cer­tain genes are more sus­cep­ti­ble to peanut al­lergy and other food al­ler­gies, ac­cord­ing to UBC re­search.

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