Predictors of cord blood IgE levels in children at risk for asthma and atopy

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Journal Article
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2007, 119 (1), pp. 81 - 88
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Background: Increased cord blood IgE levels, in conjunction with a family history of atopy, are associated with the development of allergic diseases in children. However, little is known about predictors of cord blood IgE levels. Objective: Our objective was to identify predictors of cord blood IgE levels among infants at increased risk of atopy. Methods: Cord blood IgE levels were measured in 874 infants who were screened for participation in a birth cohort. Questionnaires were administered after birth of the infant, and maternal and cord blood was obtained for measurement of IgE levels. Logistic and tobit regression models were used to study the association between perinatal factors and cord blood IgE levels. Results: In multivariable models infant male sex, increased maternal total IgE level, maternal allergen sensitization, Hispanic ethnicity, and residence in low-income areas were associated with detectable or increased cord blood IgE levels, whereas increasing maternal age was associated with undetectable or lower cord blood IgE levels. Although maternal smoking during pregnancy was positively associated with cord blood IgE levels in univariable models, the effect did not persist after adjusting for potential confounders. Conclusion: Maternal allergen sensitization, markers of socioeconomic disadvantage and race/ethnicity, maternal age, and infant sex might influence fetal production of IgE. We found no association of maternal parity, mode of delivery, gestational age, or season of birth with cord blood IgE levels. Clinical implications: The identification of these definable familial and environmental factors that predict cord blood IgE levels might help in the early detection of infants at risk for atopic disorders. © 2007 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
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