Child Immune Response Tied to Mothers' Cytokine Production

But maternal immune factors in pregnancy do not appear to influence children's risk of atopic dermatitis

FRIDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- Maternal inflammatory cytokines in pregnancy are associated with the corresponding cytokine levels in children at age 1 year, but children's atopic dermatitis is only associated with maternal atopic dermatitis, according to a study published in the August issue of Allergy.

Gunda Herberth, from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig in Germany, and colleagues investigated the potential maternal effects on the maturation of children's immune system using immune responses in 353 mother-child pairs. Concentrations of Th1/Th2/Th17, inflammatory cytokines/chemokines, and Immunoglobulin E (IgE) were measured in phytohemagglutinin and lipopolysaccharide-stimulated maternal blood during the 34th week of gestation, and in the children's blood at birth and at the age of 1 year. Using questionnaires, atopic outcomes during the first year were derived.

The investigators found that, with the exception of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), the concentration of inflammatory markers was many times higher in the cord blood samples than maternal blood. Th1/Th2 cytokines were present at lower levels in the children's blood with a Th2 bias at birth. Maternal levels of monocyte chemotactic protein-1, interleukin-10, and TNF-α in pregnancy were correlated with the cytokine blood levels in children at age 1 year. High concentrations of IgE in pregnant mothers were linked with elevated IgE in children at birth and age 1 year, whereas atopic dermatitis in children was determined by maternal atopic dermatitis.

"Maternal inflammatory cytokines during pregnancy correlate with children's corresponding cytokines at the age of 1 but are not related to IgE or atopic dermatitis. While maternal IgE predicts childrens IgE, atopic dermatitis in children is only associated with maternal disease," the authors write.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Physician's Briefing