Background Atopy in maternal and family histories is known to be a risk factor for elevated umbilical cord immunoglobulin E (cIgE). However, the association between cIgE and psychosocial factors remains under investigation.
Objective To explore whether psychosocial factors in addition to atopy contribute to elevated cIgE.
Methods Four private maternity hospitals fitting the quantile levels of SO2 in 2000 cooperated with us by recruiting participants for this study: pairs of mothers and neonates living within 3-km catchment areas of air-monitoring stations. We used a questionnaire to collect exposure data, and the Pharmacia UniCap IgE assay test system to determine the levels of IgE in gravidas and cord blood.
Results Between July 2001 and March 2003, 334 mother and neonate pairs participated in this study. The frequencies of sensitization, serum IgE (sIgE)>100 IU/mL, or cIgE0.35 IU/mL were not different between the four different hospitals. By multi-variate logistic regression analysis adjusted for environmental factors, genetic factors, and psychosocial factors, the risk factors for elevated cIgE were being a male neonate (odds ratio (OR)=3.5, 95% confidence interval (CI)=[1.5, 8.5]), carpets at home (OR=3.0, 95% CI=[1.02, 8.4]), maternal allergy to dog dander (OR=9.7, 95% CI=[1.2, 98.8], maternal total serum IgE>100 IU/mL (OR=5.1, 95% CI=[2.2, 12.8]), maternal regularly/mostly/often self-reported nervousness (OR=4.0, 95% CI=[1.3, 12.8]), family income $11 574–17 361/year (OR=3.7, 95% CI=[1.3, 11.5]), incense burning (OR=4.0, 95% CI=[1.4, 13.3]), and atopy in maternal grandparents (OR=4.8, 95% CI=[1.7, 14.0]). By principle component analysis and logistic regression, psychosocial stress (β±standard error=0.26±0.13, P=0.04) was associated with increased cIgE.
Conclusion Psychosocial factors are potentially important risk factors for elevated cIgE.