Prospective investigation on the transfer of Ara h 2, the most potent peanut allergen, in human breast milk

Frauke Schocker, Joseph Baumert, Skadi Kull, Arnd Petersen, Wolf Meinhard Becker, Uta Jappe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Background: Peanut allergy is one of the most severe food allergies. Whether breastfeeding induces tolerance to peanuts or on the contrary, pre-disposes at risk-babies to occult allergic sensitization to peanuts is still a matter of discussion. We sought to investigate the transfer of the most potent peanut allergen Ara h 2 into human breast milk in a German breast milk study and to shed light on the time kinetics of Ara h 2 appearance. Methods: We recruited 32 lactating, non-peanut-allergic women and collected breast milk samples at different time points after consumption of 100 g dry roasted peanuts. Breast milk samples were investigated for Ara h 2 with different immunological methods: by 2D immunoblotting with a patient's serum, by affinity enrichment using a monoclonal antibody against Ara h 2 followed by LC-MS/MS-based detection and by a competitive inhibition ELISA for the detection of Ara h 2 and its digestion-resistant peptides (DRP-Ara h 2). Results: In a qualitative analysis, Ara h 2 could be identified in a breast milk sample by 2D immunoblot by means of a patient's serum and furthermore by immunoaffinity enrichment followed by LC-MS/MS analysis. In a semi-quantitative analysis, Ara h 2 and its digestion-resistant peptides were detected in the breast milk of 9 of 32 subjects. Evidence suggests that Ara h 2 is excreted individually either rapidly (after 1, 2, 3 or 4 h) or delayed (after 8 or 12 h) and in different concentrations. Conclusions: Time and concentration of secreted Ara h 2 in breast milk appears to be individually regulated. The identification of Ara h 2 in breast milk is the prerequisite for the investigation of its sensitizing or tolerogenic properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-355
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Allergy and Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Allergen transfer
  • Ara h 2
  • Digestion-resistant peptides of Ara h 2
  • Human breast milk
  • Immunoaffinity enrichment
  • Immunoblot analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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