• asthma;
  • children;
  • environmental risk;
  • epidemiology;
  • perinatal factors

As antenatal environment may influence the development of atopy-predisposing immune response, cord blood cytokine productions may be an important predictor for wheezing. We investigated cord blood cytokines in a prospective birth cohort, intensively monitored for wheezy infant outcome at 1 yr. Cord blood serum samples from 269 children were assayed for interleukin (IL)-1β, -2, -4 to -8, -10, -12 (p70), -13, and -17, interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1β. Associations between family histories, antenatal and perinatal factors, cord blood cytokine concentrations, and wheezy infant outcomes (wheezing more than two times) were analyzed. In cord blood sera from 269 children, there were associations between high levels of IL-6, -8 and G-CSF concentrations, and cesarean section. Data at 1 yr were obtained from 213 infants, including 33 wheezy infants. Risk of wheezing was related to gestational age, birth weight, cesarean section, and maternal eczema, but not to bacterial/viral infection during pregnancy, maternal asthma, maternal smoking, or paternal history. High level of cord blood IL-8 concentration had a significant association with wheezy infant outcomes at 1 yr (p = 0.025). By using multivariate logistic regression analysis, birth weight [odds ratio(OR) = 0.998, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.997–1.000] and maternal eczema (OR = 5.356, 95% CI = 1.340–21.41), but no other factors, were significant predictors of wheezy infants. Birth weight, gestational age, and maternal history were important risk factors for wheezing in the first year of life. Several cord blood cytokine productions were influenced by cesarean section, and IL-8 may be a predictor for recurrent wheezing at 1 yr.