To cite this article: Joerink M, Oortveld MAW, Stenius F, Rindsjö E, Alm J, Scheynius A. Lifestyle and parental allergen sensitization are reflected in the intrauterine environment at gene expression level. Allergy 2010; 65: 1282–1289.
Background: Environmental factors, including the intrauterine environment, can influence the risk of allergy development. In the present study, we investigated whether lifestyle and parental allergen sensitization status are reflected at gene expression level in the intrauterine environment.
Methods: mRNA expression of 17 genes was determined by means of quantitative real-time PCR in term placenta of 36 families participating in the ALADDIN study (Assessment of Lifestyle and Allergic Disease During Infancy). Data were analysed using a linear regression model to estimate the influence of lifestyle and parental allergen sensitization on the relative mRNA expression levels. Immunohistochemistry on placenta biopsies was used to verify protein expression.
Results: Significant differences in mRNA expression levels were detected at the foetal side of the placenta, where CD14 was expressed at higher levels in placentas from families living on a farm compared to not living on a farm, and IL-12(p40) was expressed at lower levels when the father was sensitized compared to nonsensitized. At the maternal side of the placenta, higher expression of STAT4 and lower expression of GATA3 were detected in families with sensitized compared to nonsensitized mothers, and IL-12(p40) was lower expressed when the families were living on a farm compared to not living on a farm. Immunohistochemistry performed for STAT4 and GATA3 showed that protein and mRNA levels correlated well.
Conclusion: Living on a farm and parental allergen sensitization are reflected in the intrauterine environment at the gene expression level.