Background Adipokines are involved in the regulation of many inflammatory processes and are present at very high concentrations in cord blood of term infants.
Objective We analysed data of a large prospective birth cohort study to examine whether adiponectin and leptin concentration in cord blood are determinants of wheezing disorders in children within the first 2 years of life.
Methods Seven hundred and forty mothers and their newborns were included in this analysis. Adiponectin and leptin concentrations were measured in cord blood. The cumulative incidence of physician-reported asthma or obstructive bronchitis was recorded during a 2-year follow-up.
Results During the first 2 years of life, asthma or obstructive bronchitis was reported by the caring paediatricians for 157 (19.6%) of the children. We found a strong interaction of cord blood adiponectin and history of atopic disease in the mother with respect to the risk of physician-reported asthma or obstructive bronchitis (P=0.006). Compared with children with cord blood levels in the middle quintile (reference category), the odds ratios for physician-reported asthma or obstructive bronchitis in the bottom quintile and top quintile were 0.14 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02–0.90] and 2.12 (95% CI 0.67–6.66), respectively (P for trend=0.0003), among children of mothers with a history of atopy. This association was independent of other established risk factors. Leptin levels in cord blood were not associated with risk of asthma or obstructive bronchitis.
Conclusions In children of mothers with a history of atopy, concentrations of adiponectin in cord blood could play an important role in determining risk of wheezing disorders in early childhood.