Can allergic diseases be prevented prenatally?
Article first published online: 10 JUL 2006
Volume 61, Issue 12, pages 1423–1431, December 2006
How to Cite
Boyle, R. J. and Tang, M. L. K. (2006), Can allergic diseases be prevented prenatally?. Allergy, 61: 1423–1431. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2006.01113.x
- Issue published online: 10 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 10 JUL 2006
- Accepted for publication 1 January 2006
- animal models;
Allergic diseases continue to increase in prevalence, and now affect over a third of the population in many countries. There is evidence that the increase in such diseases has its origins in early life exposures. Pregnancy or early childhood may therefore be critical periods for preventing the onset of allergic disease, and prenatal interventions are an attractive possibility for a population-based preventive approach. Here we review the data suggesting that prenatal exposures are important in the development of allergic disease, and that interventions during this time might be effective in prevention. We find evidence from both animal and human studies that prenatal interventions can influence the future development of allergic disease. There are a number of mechanisms through which such interventions may act to prevent allergic sensitization. We conclude that prenatal interventions have the potential to reduce the burden of allergic disease, and merit continued investigation. Further research in this area may lead to significant public health initiatives.