Association of tree nut and coconut sensitizations

Brooke I. Polk, Deendayal Dinakarpandian, Maya Nanda, Charles Barnes, Chitra Dinakar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Coconut (Cocos nucifera), despite being a drupe, was added to the US Food and Drug Administration list of tree nuts in 2006, causing potential confusion regarding the prevalence of coconut allergy among tree nut allergic patients. Objective To determine whether sensitization to tree nuts is associated with increased odds of coconut sensitization. Methods A single-center retrospective analysis of serum specific IgE levels to coconut, tree nuts (almond, Brazil nut, cashew, chestnut, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, pistachio, and walnut), and controls (milk and peanut) was performed using deidentified data from January 2000 to August 2012. Spearman correlation (ρ) between coconut and each tree nut was determined, followed by hierarchical clustering. Sensitization was defined as a nut specific IgE level of 0.35 kU/L or higher. Unadjusted and adjusted associations between coconut and tree nut sensitization were tested by logistic regression. Results Of 298 coconut IgE values, 90 (30%) were considered positive results, with a mean (SD) of 1.70 (8.28) kU/L. Macadamia had the strongest correlation (ρ = 0.77), whereas most other tree nuts had significant (P < .05) but low correlation (ρ < 0.5) with coconut. The adjusted odds ratio between coconut and macadamia was 7.39 (95% confidence interval, 2.60–21.02; P <.001) and 5.32 (95% confidence interval, 2.18–12.95; P <.001) between coconut and almond, with other nuts not being statistically significant. Conclusion Our findings suggest that although sensitization to most tree nuts appears to correlate with coconut, this is largely explained by sensitization to almond and macadamia. This finding has not previously been reported in the literature. Further study correlating these results with clinical symptoms is planned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-416
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Volume117
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

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