Peanuts are the food allergens most associated with severe and fatal allergic reactions. Peanut allergy in children is a growing problem and patients often have a persistent reaction that lacks effective treatment. The differences between the allergic T lymphocytes and normal immune responses to foods in these patients are difficult to explore because circulating food antigen-specific lymphocytes are very rare. In the April 1, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Victor Turcanu and colleagues from Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, London, UK, show that peanut antigens do not intrinsically induce Th2 skewing, but that the type of response depends upon the donor's allergic status (Journal of Clinical Investigation, 111:1065-1072, April 1, 2003).

Turcanu et al. used carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester staining to separate peanut-specific lymphocytes by flow cytometry and subsequent cloning. They examined peripheral blood lymphocytes responses from peanut allergic (PA) children, and compared them with T cells from...

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