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A murine model of peanut anaphylaxis: T- and B-cell responses to a major peanut allergen mimic human responses

Li XM, Serebrisky D, Lee SY, Huang CK, Bardina L, Schofield BH, Stanley JS, Burks AW, Bannon GA, Sampson HA

Background: Peanut allergy affects 0.6% of the US population. At the present time, allergen avoidance is the only therapeutic option. Animal models of food-induced anaphylaxis would facilitate attempts to design novel immunotherapeutic strategies for the treatment of peanut allergy. Objective: The purpose of this study was to develop a murine model of IgE-mediated peanut hypersensitivity that closely mimics human peanut allergy. Methods: C3H/HeJ mice sensitized orally with freshly ground whole peanut and cholera toxin as adjuvant were challenged orally 3 and 5 weeks later with crude peanut extract. Anaphylactic reactions were determined. T- and B-cell responses to Ara h 1 and Ara h 2, the major peanut allergens, were characterized by evaluating splenocyte proliferative responses and IgE antibody concentrations. Furthermore, IgE antibodies in the sera of patients with peanut allergy and mice were compared for antibody binding to Ara h 2 isoforms and allergenic epitopes. Results: Peanut-specific IgE was induced by oral peanut sensitization, and hypersensitivity reactions were provoked by feeding peanut to sensitized mice. The symptoms were similar to those seen in human subjects. Ara h 1 and Ara h 2specific antibodies were present in the sera of mice with peanut allergy. Furthermore, these Ara h 2specific IgE antibodies bound the same Ara h 2 isoforms and major allergenic epitopes as antibodies in the sera of human subjects with peanut allergy. Splenocytes from mice with peanut allergy exhibited proliferative responses to Ara h 1 and Ara h 2. Conclusion: This murine model of peanut allergy mimics the clinical and immunologic characteristics of peanut allergy in human subjects and should be a useful tool for developing immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of peanut allergy. (J Allergy Clin Immunol 2000;106:150-8.)