ESSENTIAL FATTY ACID STATUS IN CORD-BLOOD ERYTHROCYTES AND POSSIBLE FETAL PRIMING OF ATOPY
INTRODUCTION: Environmental factors, diet among them, that act during gestation may play an important role in determining subsequent atopy development. Studies conducted on adults and children have suggested that an imbalance of essential fatty acid (EFA) intake may predispose one to atopic diseases. Few data are available on the possible relation between EFAs and fetal priming of atopy.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to investigate the hypothesis that EFAs may play a role in the regulation of the fetal immune response.
METHODS: We collected umbilical cord-blood samples from 236 neonates with a gestational age of >34 weeks. Serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels and fatty acid composition of the erythrocyte membrane were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and gas chromatography, respectively. Neonates were separated into 2 groups according to IgE value: the infants in group A had IgE levels of >0.35 IU/mL, and those in group B had IgE levels of ≤0.35 IU/mL.
RESULTS: Group A consisted of 30 neonates with increased IgE levels. Analysis of fatty acid composition revealed higher percentages of arachidic acid (20:0) (mean: 0.22 vs 0.19; P < .05) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3) (mean: 1.36 vs 1.04; P < .05) in the infants in group B.
CONCLUSIONS: Important differences were detected in cord-blood fatty acid composition in neonates with increased IgE levels. These differences suggest that EFAs may play a role in the development of atopy predisposition in utero life.
Submitted by Georgia Skouli
- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics