Effects of dog ownership in early childhood on immune development and atopic diseases
Article first published online: 12 AUG 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Clinical & Experimental Allergy
Volume 38, Issue 10, pages 1635–1643, October 2008
How to Cite
Bufford, J. D., Reardon, C. L., Li, Z., Roberg, K. A., DaSilva, D., Eggleston, P. A., Liu, A. H., Milton, D., Alwis, U., Gangnon, R., Lemanske, R. F. and Gern, J. E. (2008), Effects of dog ownership in early childhood on immune development and atopic diseases. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 38: 1635–1643. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.03018.x
- Issue published online: 9 OCT 2008
- Article first published online: 12 AUG 2008
- Submitted 30 August 2007; revised 14 March 2008; accepted 17 March 2008
- atopic dermatitis;
Background Exposure to pets in childhood has been associated with a reduced risk of wheezing and atopy.
Objective Our objective was to determine whether the effects of pet exposure on immune development and atopy in early childhood can be explained by alterations in exposure to innate immune stimuli in settled dust.
Methods Two hundred and seventy-five children at increased risk of developing allergic diseases were evaluated to age 3 years for pet ownership, blood cell cytokine responses, and atopy. Can f 1, Fel d 1, endotoxin, ergosterol, and muramic acid were measured in settled dust from 101 homes.
Results Dog exposure at birth was associated with decreased atopic dermatitis (AD) (12% vs. 27%; P=0.004) and wheezing (19% vs. 36%; P=0.005) in year 3. The rates of AD (23%) and wheezing (42%) in year 3 were relatively high in children who acquired dogs after birth. The prevalence of dog sensitization (10–12%) did not vary according to dog exposure. Can f 1 levels in bedroom dust were positively associated with IL-10 (r=0.26; P=0.01), IL-5 (r=0.34, P<0.001), and IL-13 (r=0.28; P=0.004) responses at age 1, and IL-5 (r=0.24; P=0.022) and IL-13 (r=0.25; P=0.015) responses at age 3. In contrast, endotoxin was associated with IFN-γ (r=0.31; P=0.002) and IL-13 (r=0.27; P=0.01) responses at age 3 but not at age 1, and similar relationships were present for muramic acid. Adjustment for levels of innate immune stimuli in house dust did not significantly affect the relationships between Can f 1 and cytokine responses.
Conclusions Exposure to dogs in infancy, and especially around the time of birth, is associated with changes in immune development and reductions in wheezing and atopy. These findings are not explained by exposure to endotoxin, ergosterol, or muramic acid.