INTRODUCTION: Prevalence of food allergies increase worldwide. Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is a major cause of IgE-mediated reactions. However, in Cuba, sensitization to peanut allergens has not been properly studied. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess the relevance of peanuts as food allergens in Cuba and to characterize the immunoallergic response in this population. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Non-allergic and allergic patients (including adults and children) were selected. Skin Prick tests were performed using allergen extracts of raw and roasted peanut. Sensitization was also assessed by testing IgE and IgG4 serum antibodies specific to different extract components by Western blotting. RESULTS: The prevalence of sensitization in non-allergic adult population was 2.6% for raw and 4.6% for roasted peanuts. The maximum values were recorded in allergic children: 26% for raw and 23% for roasted peanut. The most common clinical manifestations were urticaria or allergic dermatitis in children and asthma or rhinitis in adults. Correlation between size of skin reactions to raw and roasted peanut was high (r=0.698). Four major proteins with IgE and IgG4 binding activity were identified, among them, putatively, the allergens Ara h1 (60kDa) and Ara h3 (64kDa). The binding profile of IgG4 antibodies was broader than IgE but generally included it. CONCLUSION: This study provides data showing relatively high values of allergic sensitization to peanuts in Cuba, close to those reported in first-world countries. Allergenic proteins recognized by Cubans largely coincide with allergens identified internationally. This study points to the need to develop more research on food allergies in our country.
was to determine if peanut seeds are causing food allergy among the Cuban population and characterize the response immunoallergic eta population.