• nested case–control study;
  • asthma;
  • eczema;
  • carotenoids;
  • tocopherols;
  • Japanese

Okuda M, Bando N, Terao J, Sasaki S, Sugiyama S, Kunitsugu I, Hobara T. Association of serum carotenoids and tocopherols with atopic diseases in Japanese children and adolescents. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: e705–e710. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S

The present study assessed whether serum carotenoids and tocopherols are associated with atopic diseases (eczema and asthma) in 10- and 13-yr-olds in a Japanese community. Of 2796 students attending schools in Shunan, Japan, in 2006, 396 students were randomly selected for this study using nested case–control design. Atopic diseases and dietary food intake were assessed using self-administered questionnaires, and serum antioxidants were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography. We found no associations between serum carotenoids and atopic diseases. However, odds ratios (OR)s for the third and fourth quartiles of serum α-tocopherol with atopic eczema were 0.33 (95% confidence interval: 0.15–0.73) and 0.36 (0.14–0.89), respectively, and the trend was negatively significant (Ptrend = 0.048). We did not find a significant association for asthma. In conclusion, serum α-tocopherol was negatively associated with the prevalence of eczema. Serum carotenoids did not show definitive protective effects in Japanese youth.