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.