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Dry Roasted Peanuts More Likely To Trigger Allergy

Update Date: Sep 22, 2014 10:10 AM EDT
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Dry roasted peanuts are more likely to trigger an allergy to peanuts than raw peanuts, according to a new study. 

The study, involving mice, might explain the difference in the number of people with peanut allergies in the Western world compared to populations in East Asia. 

Researchers say that specific chemical changes caused by the high temperatures of dry roasting process are recognized by the body's immune system, 'priming' the body to set off an allergic immune response the next time it sees any peanuts. 

'This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a potential trigger for peanut allergy has been directly shown,' said lead researcher Professor Quentin Sattentau of Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford.

Previous studies have shown that roasting modifies peanut proteins leading to altered recognition by the immune system, but they did not show that roasted peanuts can trigger an allergic immune response, the press release added.

 'Our results in mice suggest that dry roasted peanuts may be more likely to lead to peanut allergy than raw peanuts: the dry roasting causes a chemical modification of peanut proteins that appears to activate the immune system against future exposure to peanuts,' said first author Dr Amin Moghaddam of Oxford University, in the press release.

'Allergies in people are driven by multiple factors including family genetic background and exposure to environmental triggers. In the case of peanut allergy, we think we may have discovered an environmental trigger in the way that peanuts are processed by high-temperature roasting.'

The study is published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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