Introduction: Genetic polymorphisms associated with IgE-mediated food sensitization have been a robust area of research for decades. A genome-wide search for susceptible loci regulating the IgE response (atopy) identified the candidate gene STAT6, which is important in the context of food allergic manifestations.
Objective: The present study was designed to investigate the sensitization of West Bengal population against some common allergenic food items and to study the role of the STAT6 gene polymorphism in elevating food-specific IgE levels among sensitized individuals.
Methods: Skin prick test was performed for 6 food items among 501 patients (126 children, 85 adolescents, and 290 adults)from West Bengal, India. Among them, 165 patients were selected for measurement of total IgE and food-specific IgE levels along with 165 controls. Finally, the STAT6 (rs3024974 (C/T) polymorphism was genotyped in 139 cases and control subjects.
Results: Shrimp was identified as a dominant food allergen in adolescents and adults, whereas milk sensitization was highest in children. Food-sensitized patients with onset during childhood had significantly higher total IgE levels compared to patients with onset during adulthood (p < 0.00001). The frequency of the rs3024974 CC genotype in both cases and control subjects (55.40 and 46.76%, respectively) was higher than that of CT or TT. Patients with childhood onset bearing the CC genotype had significantly higher specific IgE levels in comparison to those with adult onset (p = 0.001).
Conclusion: Food sensitization has a genetic background and the rs3024974 polymorphism is associated with susceptibility and reaction severity in food-sensitized patients in West Bengal population in India.
Keywords: Food allergy; Genetic polymorphism; STAT6.
© 2019 S. Karger AG, Basel.