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Environ Int. 2018 Oct;119:295-301. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.06.036. Epub 2018 Jul 7.

Environmental grass pollen levels in utero and at birth and cord blood IgE: Analysis of three birth cohorts.

Author information

1
School of Pyschology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia; Indonesia Research Partnership on Infectious Diseases (INA-RESPOND), Jakarta, Indonesia; Epidemiology and Biostatistics Division, Public Health Department, Faculty of Medicine, Padjadjaran University, Bandung, Indonesia.
2
Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen & Danish Pediatric Asthma Center, Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
3
Institute of Epidemiology I, Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany.
4
Allergy and Lung Health Unit, School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
5
Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Norway; Department of Occupational Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Norway.
6
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.
7
Research Institute, Department of Pediatrics, Marien-Hospital Wesel, Wesel, Germany.
8
Department of Environmental Immunology/Core Facility Studies, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany.
9
Foundation German Pollen Information Service, Berlin, Germany.
10
School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
11
Institute of Epidemiology I, Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany; Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Inner City Clinic, University Hospital of Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Comprehensive Pneumology Centre (LMU), Munich, German Centre for Lung Research, Germany.
12
School of Pyschology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address: b.erbas@latrobe.edu.au.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Early life factors are associated with allergic respiratory diseases, but the role of high grass pollen concentrations during pregnancy and shortly after birth is not known.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess outdoor levels of grass pollen during the intrauterine period and at birth during peak pollen season on cord blood IgE in birth cohorts.

METHODS:

Three birth cohorts were included: MACS (n = 429), Australia; COPSAC2000 (n = 200), Denmark; and LISA (n = 1968), Germany. Cord blood IgE was categorized (<0.5 kU/L, 0.5-1 kU/L, >1 kU/L) and dichotomized (high IgE ≥ 0.5 kU/L). Birth during the grass pollen season months and cumulative exposure to outdoor grass pollen counts during pregnancy with cord blood IgE were analysed using multinomial regression and analysed in meta-analysis using binomial regression adjusted for potential confounders.

RESULTS:

Birth during the grass pollen season had higher pooled odds of cord blood IgE >0.5 kU/L 1.37 (95% CI 1.06, 1.77) in a meta-analysis with little heterogeneity between the three cohorts. Cumulative exposure to outdoor grass pollen counts during the entire pregnancy was associated with slightly lower pooled odds but significant (OR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.96 to 0.99).

CONCLUSIONS:

Birth during grass pollen seasons were associated with increased risk of high cord blood IgE in cities from both hemispheres, but high pollen loads in the environment during the entire pregnancy appeared protective. As IgE responses develop during the first months of life, our study findings provide new insights into the mechanisms of grass pollen exposure at birth and shortly after on possible allergic respiratory diseases.

KEYWORDS:

Allergic respiratory disease; Cord blood IgE; Grass pollen; In utero

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