Offspring IgE Responses are Influenced by Levels of Maternal IgG Transferred in Early Life



Jitka S. Hansen, National Research Centre for the Working Environment, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.




Maternal immune responses may interfere with offspring allergy development as maternal immunization may suppress IgE development, while maternal allergy may promote allergy. Therefore, we investigated the effect of two different maternal treatments on airway allergy in female and male offspring.

Method of study

Pregnant mice were immunized (IMM) with ovalbumin (OVA) or immunized and airway-challenged (IMM+AI). At different ages, airway allergy to OVA was induced in offspring by intranasal sensitization.


Maternal IgG1 was found at higher levels in IMM+AI than in IMM offspring. After sensitization, the suppression of OVA-specific IgE and IgG1 was complete in juvenile offspring but waned with age concurrently with maternal IgG1 levels. Cytokine secretion, lung inflammation, and B cell priming were not suppressed although IgE responses were.


High compared with low levels of maternal IgG1 were associated with lower TH2 antibody production after adult offspring were re-exposed to OVA. Thus, offspring allergy-related responses appeared to be shaped by maternal antibody levels.