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Perinatal exposure to endotoxin and the development of eczema during the first 6 years of life

Authors

  • C.-M. Chen,

    1. Helmholtz Centre Munich, German Research Centre for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Neuherberg, Germany
    2. Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Dr von Hauner Children’s Hospital, Munich, Germany
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  • S. Sausenthaler,

    1. Helmholtz Centre Munich, German Research Centre for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Neuherberg, Germany
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  • W. Bischof,

    1. Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Department of Indoor Climatology (ark), Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Jena, Germany
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  • O. Herbarth,

    1. Department of Environmental Medicine and Hygiene, Faculty of Medicine, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
    2. Department of Human Exposure Research and Epidemiology, UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
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  • M. Borte,

    1. Clinic for Childhood and Adolescent Medicine, Municipal Hospital St Georg Leipzig, Teaching Hospital of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
    2. Department of Paediatrics, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
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  • H. Behrendt,

    1. Division of Environmental Dermatology and Allergology, Helmholtz Centre Munich, German Research Centre for Environmental Health, Technical University, Munich, Germany
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  • U. Krämer,

    1. Institute for Molecular Preventative Medicine (IUF), Düsseldorf, Germany
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  • H. C. Williams,

    1. Centre of Evidence based Dermatology, Nottingham, UK
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  • H.-E. Wichmann,

    1. Helmholtz Centre Munich, German Research Centre for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Neuherberg, Germany
    2. Institute of Medical Data Management, Biometrics and Epidemiology, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Munich, Germany
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  • J. Heinrich,

    1. Helmholtz Centre Munich, German Research Centre for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Neuherberg, Germany
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  • the LISA Study Group

    1. Helmholtz Centre Munich, German Research Centre for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Neuherberg, Germany
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  • Conflict of interest: none declared.

Dr Chih-Mei Chen, Institute of Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Centre for Environmental Health, Ingolstaedter Landstrasse 1, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany
E-mail: chih-mei.chen@helmholtz-muenchen.de

Summary

Background.  Previous studies have reported a protective association between high levels of exposure to endotoxin during infancy and the development of subsequent eczema within the first 6 months of life.

Aim.  To investigate the association between exposure in infancy to endotoxin from mattress dust and the development of eczema up to age of 6 years in 2166 children participating in the German Influences of Lifestyle-Related Factors on the Immune System and the Development of Allergies in Childhood (LISA) study, an ongoing population-based birth-cohort study.

Methods.  Endotoxin levels in house dust samples collected at 3 months after birth were quantified using the kinetic Limulus amebocyte lysate assay. Specific IgE antibodies to common food and aeroallergens were measured using radioallergosorbent test, fluorenzyme immunoassay (Pharmacia CAP system) when children were 2 and 6 years old. Information on eczema symptoms and physician-diagnosed eczema were collected at each follow-up using a questionnaire.

Results.  No association was found between endotoxin exposure from mattresses (the mattresses of each child and their parents were examined) during infancy and the development of eczema symptoms or doctor-diagnosed eczema by 6 years of age (OR = 1.1, 95% CI 0.5–2.3, and OR = 1.1, 95% CI 0.4–3.3, respectively). No association was found when children with only atopic eczema.

Conclusion.  Endotoxin exposure during infancy is unlikely to have a large long-term effect on the development of eczema, especially the atopic form.

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