Maternal consumption of peanut during pregnancy is associated with peanut sensitization in atopic infants

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Dec;126(6):1191-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.08.036. Epub 2010 Oct 28.


Background: Peanut allergy is typically severe, lifelong, and prevalent.

Objective: To identify factors associated with peanut sensitization.

Methods: We evaluated 503 infants 3 to 15 months of age (mean, 9.4 months) with likely milk or egg allergy but no previous diagnosis of peanut allergy. A total of 308 had experienced an immediate allergic reaction to cow's milk and/or egg, and 204 had moderate to severe atopic dermatitis and a positive allergy test to milk and/or egg. A peanut IgE level ≥5 kU(A)/L was considered likely indicative of peanut allergy.

Results: A total of 140 (27.8%) infants had peanut IgE levels ≥5 kU(A)/L. Multivariate analysis including clinical, laboratory, and demographic variables showed frequent peanut consumption during pregnancy (odds ratio, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.7-4.9; P < .001), IgE levels to milk (P = .001) and egg (P < .001), male sex (P = .02), and nonwhite race (P = .02) to be the primary factors associated with peanut IgE ≥5 kUA/L. Frequency of peanut consumption during pregnancy and breast-feeding showed a dose-response association with peanut IgE ≥5 kU(A)/L, but only consumption during pregnancy was a significant predictor. Among 71 infants never breast-fed, frequent consumption of peanut during pregnancy was strongly associated with peanut IgE ≥5 kU(A)/L (odds ratio, 4.99, 95% CI, 1.69-14.74; P < .004).

Conclusion: In this cohort of infants with likely milk or egg allergy, maternal ingestion of peanut during pregnancy was strongly associated with a high level of peanut sensitization.

Trial registration: NCT00356174.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Arachis / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Peanut Hypersensitivity / blood
  • Peanut Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Peanut Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Peanut Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Tests


  • Immunoglobulin E

Associated data