Leucocyte-derived sulfidoleucotrienes (SLT) from children and adults can be detected in vitro in response to specific allergen stimulation, a mechanism thought to require the presence of allergen-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)E antibodies on the surface of basophils. It is unknown whether this mechanism is functional in cord blood basophils.
We studied the in vitro SLT-release of leucocytes in response to allergen and anti-IgE stimulation in term newborns and children with allergic diseases.
Cord blood from randomly selected term newborns were analysed for total IgE-antibodies and in vitro SLT-release in response to allergen and anti-IgE stimulation. Children from an allergy outpatient clinic were used as the control group. The Cellular Allergen Stimulation Test (CAST) was used as read-out system. Allergen stimulation was performed with an allergen-mix containing 21 nutritive and inhalant allergens.
Peripheral blood leucocytes/basophils derived from allergic children (n = 56; median SLT release 1049 pg/mL) were more responsive to anti-IgE stimulation as cord blood leucocytes/basophils (n = 104; median 419 pg/mL P < 0.0001). In response to stimulation with an allergen-mix, the two groups did not differ significantly from each other. Only SLT-releasability in response to anti-IgE showed a correlation with cord blood IgE.
Sulfidoleucotriene-release of cord blood basophils is functional in response to allergens. It appears possible that cord blood basophils are armed with allergen-specific IgE-antibodies though not detectable in serum. Therefore, cord blood SLT-release may indirectly reflect prenatal priming with allergens with subsequent production of allergen-specific IgE.