Rühl R, Taner C, Schweigert FJ, Wahn U, Grüber C. Serum carotenoids and atopy among children of different ethnic origin living in Germany.
Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: 1072–1075.
© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Journal compilation © 2010 Blackwell Munksgaard
The manifestation of atopy in early life is thought to be influenced by the diet. We hypothesized that the previously reported lower prevalence of atopy among Turkish immigrant children in Germany might be related to a different pattern of serum carotenoids. Serum carotenoid concentrations were measured in pre-school children of different ethnic origin from Berlin, D. German children (D, N = 49) were compared to Turkish children with well (TR-D, N = 32) or weak cultural adaptation (TR-TR, N = 41). Serum levels of pro-vitamin A carotenoids (α- and β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin) and non-pro-vitamin A carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene) were measured by high performance liquid chromatography. Serum IgE to common inhalant allergens was measured by immunoassay. Median levels of pro-vitamin A carotenoids were lower in Turkish children if compared to German children: D 135μg/L, TR-D 100μg/L (p = 0.025), TR-TR 82μg/L (p = 0.001). By contrast, median levels of non-pro-vitamin A carotenoids were not higher in German children. The ratio of pro-vitamin A to non-pro-vitamin A carotenoid median levels was highest among D (2.05), lower among TR-D (1.32; p = 0.001) and lowest among TR-TR (1.26; p < 0.001)). A higher ratio was not significantly associated with atopy (atopic 1.79, non-atopic 1.36; p = 0.067). Pro-vitamin A carotenoids are higher in children originating from a cultural population with a higher prevalence of atopy, but atopy seems not to be directly related to the current carotenoid serum levels in children at school age. The distinct pattern of carotenoid levels among Turkish migrant and German children indicates changed nutrition patterns with acculturation.