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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Nov;112(5):899-904.

Prenatal prediction of infant atopy by maternal but not paternal total IgE levels.

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Chang Gung Children's Hospital at Kaohsiung, Taiwan.



The atopic history of parents has long been used to predict infant atopy. However, bias from questionnaires of allergic history are also frequently suspected, because a large number of vasomotor rhinitis, intrinsic asthma, and seborrheic dermatitis cases are probably misinterpreted to be atopic diseases.


We attempted to identify a risk factor other than parental atopic history to predict elevated infant IgE levels and infant atopy.


A total of 655 core families were prenatally recruited, and finally 545 families completed the study for the prospective analysis of infant atopy at 6 months of age. Atopic history and blood samples of parents were collected in the third trimester during pregnancy. Cord blood (CB) was collected immediately after birth. Infant blood samples and history of infant eczema were collected in the 6-month physical checkup clinic. Blood total IgE and specific IgE levels were determined by use of the Pharmacia CAP system.


In univariate analysis, maternal, but not paternal, atopic history correlated with elevated CB IgE levels and the occurrence of infant eczema. Elevated maternal, but not paternal, total IgE levels (>150 KU/L) significantly correlated with increases of CB IgE levels (median, 0.54 vs 0.17 KU/L, P <.001), infant IgE levels (log-transformed mean values, 1.32 +/- 0.51 vs 1.13 +/- 0.51 KU/L, P <.001), and infant eczema (P =.008). Multivariate logistical regression analysis, however, showed that only maternal total IgE levels correlated with CB and infant IgE levels and the development of infant eczema.


The maternal, but not paternal, total IgE level correlates with elevated infant IgE levels and infant atopy. This provides a high specificity (83%) and a sensitivity of 34% for prediction of infant atopy. This suggests that maternal factors, placental factors, or both have an impact on perinatal allergic sensitization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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