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Association between first-degree familial predisposition of asthma and atopy (total IgE) in newborns

Authors


Correspondence:
Sandra Kuiper, MSc, Department of General Practice, Care and Public Health Research Institute, University of Maastricht, PO Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands. E-mail: Sandra.Kuiper@HAG.unimaas.nl

Abstract

Summary

Background

It is generally thought that infants with a first-degree familial predisposition of asthma are at higher risk of developing asthma than infants without predisposition.

Objective

To investigate whether there is an association between being at high risk for developing asthma and increased level of total IgE in newborns and whether total IgE is influenced by gender, family size, birth season, maternal smoking, birth weight, gestational age, and maternal diet.

Methods

Two hundred and twenty-one high risk and 308 low-risk infants were prenatally selected in a 5-year-period. Three to 5 days after birth, the total IgE was measured in capillary heel blood.

Results

Data on total IgE and first-degree familial predisposition were available for 170 high-risk and 300 low-risk infants. There was a statistically significant relationship between being at high-risk (maternal asthma) and increased levels of total IgE in newborns (total IgE cut-off levels: 0.6–0.9 IU/mL (odds ratio (OR)=2.1, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2–3.7 to 3.0, 95% CI: 1.5–5.9)), between being born in autumn and increased levels of total IgE in newborns [total IgE cut-off levels: 0.5–0.6 IU/mL (OR=2.5, 95% CI: 1.2–5.1 to 2.5, 95% CI: 1.2–5.4)] and between maternal vitamin supplements intake and decreased levels of total IgE in newborns (total IgE cut-off level: 0.9 IU/mL (OR=0.5, 95% CI:0.3–1.0)). There was no interaction between the effects of maternal asthma and birth season on total IgE, as well as between the effects of maternal asthma and maternal vitamin supplements intake. Gender, family size, maternal smoking, birth weight, and gestational age did not influence the associations.

Conclusion Being at high-risk of asthma (maternal asthma) and birth season are positively associated with the presence of increased levels of total IgE at birth, whereas maternal vitamin supplements intake is negatively associated with the presence of total IgE at birth.

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