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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Dec;128(6):1335-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2011.07.038. Epub 2011 Aug 27.

Salivary cortisol levels and allergy in children: the ALADDIN birth cohort.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Södersjukhuset, Sachs' Children's Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. fredrik.stenius@sodersjukhuset.se

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pre- and postnatal stress have been related to allergy in children, but evidence from prospective studies is limited. Several environmental factors can influence the salivary cortisol level, which is used as a measure of activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to assess the association between salivary cortisol levels at 6 months of age and allergic manifestations during the first 2 years of life.

METHODS:

Salivary samples for the analysis of cortisol level were collected at 6 months of age on 3 occasions during 1 day from 203 children. Blood samples were collected at 6, 12, and 24 months of age for analyses of specific IgE. Information on allergy-related symptoms was obtained by repeated examinations of the children. Generalized estimating equation statistics were used to calculate the overall risk for outcome measures.

RESULTS:

The adjusted odds ratio for the relationship between morning cortisol level and IgE sensitization was 1.60 (95% CI, 1.22-2.10, P = .001) and for eczema it was 1.28 (95% CI, 1.03-1.59, P = .026). The odds ratio for afternoon cortisol level in relation to sensitization and eczema was 1.56 (95% CI, 1.26-1.94, P < .001) and 1.33 (95% CI, 1.12-1.58, P = .001), respectively, and for evening cortisol level it was 1.49 (95% CI, 1.22-1.83, P < .001) and 1.37 (95% CI, 1.18-1.59, P < .001). Salivary cortisol level in the evening was associated with food allergy.

CONCLUSION:

The association between salivary cortisol levels in infancy and allergic sensitization and allergic symptoms suggests a role of an altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in the etiological process of allergies.

PMID:
21872917
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaci.2011.07.038
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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