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Maternal programming in asthma and allergy


Dr. J. A. Warner Child Health, Level G, Centre Block, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK.


There has been increasing interest in the possibility that the mother has an important role to play in influencing the development of fetal and infant immune responses to allergens during gestation. This finding, by several groups, of specific immune responses of infants at birth to individual trigger factors associated with an underlying immaturity of cytokine production, is intriguing in the light of the development of subsequent allergic disease. The interactions between mother, placenta and fetus are now forming a focus for ongoing research and may be a potential target for intervention aimed at preventing allergic asthma.