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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004 Sep;114(3):531-7.

Umbilical cord and maternal blood red cell fatty acids and early childhood wheezing and eczema.

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  • 1Department of Public Health Sciences, Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, King's College, London, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Few studies have explored whether fetal exposure to n-6 and n-3 fatty acids influences the inception of atopic disease.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess prenatal fatty acid exposures as predictors of early childhood wheezing and eczema.

METHODS:

In the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, late pregnancy maternal blood samples and umbilical cord blood samples were assayed for n-6 and n-3 fatty acids (percentage of total red cell phospholipid), and mothers were asked about wheezing and eczema in their children. We measured associations of 11 n-6 and n-3 fatty acid exposures with wheezing at 30 to 42 months, with wheezing patterns defined by presence (+) or absence (-) of wheezing during 2 periods, 0 to 6 months and 30 to 42 months (transient infant, +/-; later-onset, -/+; persistent, +/+; n=1191 and n=2764 for cord and maternal analyses, respectively), and with eczema at 18 to 30 months (n=1238 and n=2945 for cord and maternal analyses, respectively).

RESULTS:

In cord blood red cells, the ratio of arachidonic:eicosapentaenoic acid was positively associated with eczema (adjusted odds ratio [OR] per doubling, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.00-1.31; P=.044), the ratio of linoleic acid:alpha-linolenic acid was positively associated with later-onset wheeze (OR, 1.30; CI, 1.04-1.61; P=.019), and the ratio of alpha-linolenic acid:n-3 products was negatively associated with later-onset wheeze (OR, 0.86; CI, 0.75-0.99; P=.040). However, these associations were no longer significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons.

CONCLUSIONS:

It seems unlikely that fetal exposure to n-6 and n-3 fatty acids is an important determinant of early childhood wheezing and atopic disease.

PMID:
15356553
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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