Maternal smoking in pregnancy alters neonatal cytokine responses
Article first published online: 19 SEP 2003
Volume 58, Issue 10, pages 1053–1058, October 2003
How to Cite
Noakes, P. S., Holt, P. G. and Prescott, S. L. (2003), Maternal smoking in pregnancy alters neonatal cytokine responses. Allergy, 58: 1053–1058. doi: 10.1034/j.1398-9995.2003.00290.x
- Issue published online: 19 SEP 2003
- Article first published online: 19 SEP 2003
- Accepted for publication 30 April 2003
- cord blood;
Background: Maternal cigarette smoking in pregnancy is an important, common and avoidable exposure that has been linked with elevated cord blood (CB) immunoglobulin E levels and subsequent asthma and allergic disease in childhood. Despite this, there is still very little information about the immunological effects of maternal smoking on the fetus.
Methods: This aim of this study was to compare cord blood mononuclear cell (CBMC) cytokine responses to allergens [ovalbumin (OVA) or house dust mite (HDM)] and mitogens [concanavalin A (ConA) or phytohemaglutinen (PHA)] in neonates whose mothers smoked throughout pregnancy (n = 17) with responses of neonates whose mothers never smoked (n = 40). Cell cultures were stimulated for 24 h and supernatants collected for cytokine detection by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [interleukin (IL)-13, IL-6, interferon (IFN)γ and IL-10]. Cell pellets were also collected for cytokine mRNA detection (IL-5, IL-9, IFNγ).
Results: Maternal smoking in pregnancy was associated with significantly higher neonatal T helper type 2 (IL-13 protein) responses to both HDM (P = 0.01) and OVA (P = 0.035). These effects remained statistically significant after allowing for confounding factors, including the effects of maternal atopy. Similar trends were also seen for IL-9mRNA, IL-5mRNA and IL-6 responses, although these were not statistically significant. Although IFNγ mRNA responses to PHA (P = 0.015) and ConA (P = 0.025) were lower if mothers smoked in pregnancy, there were no differences in neonatal (Th1) IFNγ protein responses to allergens or mitogens.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that maternal cigarette smoking can modify aspects of fetal immune function and highlight the need for further studies in this area.