April 14, 2024
Allergic Reactions

Donor Diets Influence Allergic Reactions in Blood Recipients, Study Finds

A recent study conducted by researchers from Japan has shed light on a potentially life-threatening side effect of blood transfusions known as Allergic Transfusion Reactions (ATRs). The study suggests that ATRs may be linked to food allergies in pediatric patients and can be triggered by allergens present in the donor’s blood, influenced by their pre-donation diet. These findings have significant implications for the development of preventive measures and countermeasures to ensure safer blood transfusions in the future.

Blood transfusions play a crucial role in saving lives across various medical contexts, including severe blood loss from surgery or trauma, as well as the treatment of blood disorders like anemia and sickle cell disease. However, these life-saving procedures can come with serious side effects, with ATRs posing a particular risk, especially among children.

While scientists have long suspected that ATRs may be linked to immediate hypersensitivity mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE), the specific allergens responsible for these reactions have remained unclear.

In an effort to unravel this mystery, a team of researchers led by Dr. Ryu Yanagisawa from Shinshu University Hospital, Japan, along with Dr. Minoru Tozuka and Dr. Yasunori Ito from Nagano Children’s Hospital, embarked on a study to investigate the potential connection between donor diets and ATRs. Their research, published online in Allergy, focused on exploring the impact of donor food consumption on ATR development in children with food allergies.

During the study conducted between May 2022 and December 2023, blood samples were collected from over 100 pediatric patients with confirmed food allergies to eggs, wheat, or milk. Additionally, blood samples were obtained from two healthy donors both before and after consuming these food items in substantial quantities, and their serum was extracted for analysis.

Basophil activation tests (BATs) were then conducted on the blood samples from allergic patients, where the samples were exposed to the corresponding donor sera to assess basophil activation, a key indicator of allergic reactions.

The results of the study revealed that in patients with egg allergies, BAT levels were significantly elevated when exposed to donor sera following egg consumption. Notably, blood samples collected four hours after egg ingestion showed a higher activation of basophils compared to samples collected two hours post-ingestion. While the findings for milk and wheat allergies were more varied, with elevated BAT levels observed in response to the serum from one of the two donors.

To further solidify their findings, the researchers conducted additional BAT tests using sera from sixteen other donors, which consistently showed basophil activation in cases where the donors had consumed eggs, suggesting a correlation between donor diet and ATRs in children with specific food allergies.

Dr. Yanagisawa emphasized the importance of these findings in uncovering the potential triggers of ATRs and paving the way for future advancements in predicting and preventing these reactions during blood transfusions. The study marks a significant step towards enhancing the safety and efficacy of blood transfusions through targeted interventions and treatments tailored to individual patient profiles.

As research progresses in this area, it is hoped that a deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind ATRs will lead to the development of proactive strategies to mitigate the risks associated with blood transfusions, ultimately ensuring better outcomes for patients in need of these life-saving procedures.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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