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BACKGROUND: There is considerable controversy whether maternal peanut ingestion during pregnancy might influence sensitization in later life. Objective To examine whether maternal peanut ingestion during pregnancy might increase sensitization in the offspring. METHODS: A population-based longitudinal cohort study with 16 years follow-up was conducted (N=373). Subjects were recruited at birth as part of an infant health study. Maternal antenatal peanut consumption was documented at birth and peanut and rye sensitization were determined by measurement of serum-specific IgE at age 16. RESULTS: Peanut sensitization was common (14%). In the entire cohort (n=310), there was no association between antenatal peanut ingestion and peanut sensitization (P=0.17). However, there was a strong association between antenatal peanut ingestion and decreased risk of rye sensitization and peanut sensitization in those (n=201) without a family history (FH) of asthma (Rye OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.14-0.63, P=0.001 and Peanut OR 0.18, 95% CI 0.04-0.78, P=0.02). There was an increased risk of rye sensitization in those (n=108) with a FH of asthma and antenatal peanut ingestion (Rye OR 2.69, 95% CI 1.11-6.51 P=0.03). It was considered that these sensitizations were likely to be related to the presence of IgE antibodies to cross-reacting carbohydrate epitopes common to rye and peanut allergens. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Antenatal peanut ingestion may influence the development of IgE antibody to cross-reacting carbohydrate epitopes in later life. Genetic factors may modify this association.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Exp Allergy

Publication Date





224 - 231


Adolescent, Antibodies, Arachis, Cross Reactions, Eating, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Immunoglobulin E, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Maternal Exposure, Peanut Hypersensitivity, Pregnancy, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects, Secale, Wheat Hypersensitivity