Are maternal psychosocial factors associated with cord immunoglobulin E in addition to family atopic history and mother immunoglobulin E?

Clin Exp Allergy. 2004 Apr;34(4):548-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2004.1928.x.


Background: Atopy in maternal and family histories is known to be a risk factor for elevated umbilical cord immunoglobulin E (cIgE). However, the association between cIgE and psychosocial factors remains under investigation.

Objective: To explore whether psychosocial factors in addition to atopy contribute to elevated cIgE.

Methods: Four private maternity hospitals fitting the quantile levels of SO(2) in 2000 cooperated with us by recruiting participants for this study: pairs of mothers and neonates living within 3-km catchment areas of air-monitoring stations. We used a questionnaire to collect exposure data, and the Pharmacia UniCap IgE assay test system to determine the levels of IgE in gravidas and cord blood.

Results: Between July 2001 and March 2003, 334 mother and neonate pairs participated in this study. The frequencies of sensitization, serum IgE (sIgE)>100 IU/mL, or cIgE> or =0.35 IU/mL were not different between the four different hospitals. By multi-variate logistic regression analysis adjusted for environmental factors, genetic factors, and psychosocial factors, the risk factors for elevated cIgE were being a male neonate (odds ratio (OR)=3.5, 95% confidence interval (CI)=[1.5, 8.5]), carpets at home (OR=3.0, 95% CI=[1.02, 8.4]), maternal allergy to dog dander (OR=9.7, 95% CI=[1.2, 98.8], maternal total serum IgE>100 IU/mL (OR=5.1, 95% CI=[2.2, 12.8]), maternal regularly/mostly/often self-reported nervousness (OR=4.0, 95% CI=[1.3, 12.8]), family income 11,574-17 361 US dollars/year (OR=3.7, 95% CI=[1.3, 11.5]), incense burning (OR=4.0, 95% CI=[1.4, 13.3]), and atopy in maternal grandparents (OR=4.8, 95% CI=[1.7, 14.0]). By principle component analysis and logistic regression, psychosocial stress (beta +/- standard error=0.26+/-0.13, P=0.04) was associated with increased cIgE.

Conclusion: Psychosocial factors are potentially important risk factors for elevated cIgE.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Hypersensitivity / genetics
  • Hypersensitivity / psychology*
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / immunology*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / immunology*


  • Allergens
  • Immunoglobulin E