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Eur Respir J. 2002 Sep;20(3):617-23.

Allergens and endotoxin on mothers' mattresses and total immunoglobulin E in cord blood of neonates.

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GSF-Institute of Epidemiology, National Research Centre for Environment and Health, Neuherberg, Germany.


The current authors examined whether mite and cat allergen and bacterial endotoxin levels in dust of the mothers' mattresses were associated with cord blood immunoglobulin (Ig)E (CB-IgE) levels in newborns. Data from 1,332 term and normal weight neonates, from an ongoing birth cohort study, influences of life-style related factors on the immune system and the development of allergies in childhood (LISA), with complete information on exposure to biocontaminants in mattress dust and CB-IgE were analysed. Two thirds of CB-IgE were undetectable (<0.35 kU x L(-1)). Thus, 0.35 and 0.45 kU x L(-1) (4th quartile) were chosen as cut-offs. Nonparametric smoothing (generalised additive models) showed statistically significant confounder-adjusted associations between elevated CB-IgE levels (> or = 0.45 kU x L(-1)) and log-transformed exposures to cat (linear), mite (inverse u-shaped), and endotoxin (u-shaped). After adjustment for covariables, elevated CB-IgE levels (logistic regression using the 1st-4th quartiles of exposure) were positively associated with high cat-allergen exposure and medium exposure to mite allergen, but were inversely associated with exposure to endotoxin. The associations were similar, but somewhat weaker, when 0.35 kU x L(-1) was used as cut-off. These results, showing an association between prenatal allergen and endotoxin exposures and immunoglobulin E production, suggest that the development of foetal immune responses may be affected.

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