Background: It has been suggested that n-6 and n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) in blood are associated with risk of allergic diseases, although results are inconclusive. Low levels of n-6 LC-PUFA and high levels of n-3 LC-PUFA are anticipated to have beneficial effects. Pregnancy is considered a critical time period for imprinting the developing immune system. We examined whether n-6 LC-PUFA, n-3 LC-PUFA concentrations or the n-6/n-3 ratio in cord blood (CB) serum are associated with allergic diseases up to the age of 10 yr.
Methods: This analysis included 436 children from the Munich LISAplus birth cohort study. Information on doctor-diagnosed asthma, hay fever/allergic rhinitis, and eczema was collected using questionnaires completed at the ages 6 and 10 yr, and for eczema additionally at 2 yr. Specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) against inhalant allergens was measured at 6 and 10 yr. Fatty acid composition was measured by gas chromatography in serum from CB and from blood collected at 2, 6, and 10 yr. Associations between n-3, n-6 LC-PUFA concentrations, and the n-6/n-3 ratio in CB serum and allergic diseases or atopy were assessed using generalized estimating equations (GEE) considering the longitudinal structure. Models were adjusted for LC-PUFA concentrations at follow-up and potential confounding factors.
Results: There was no significant association between n-3 LC-PUFA, n-6 LC-PUFA, or the n-6/n-3 ratio in CB serum with eczema, asthma, hay fever/allergic rhinitis, or aeroallergen sensitization.
Conclusions: There is no indication of a beneficial effect of increased n-3 LC-PUFA in CB serum on the development of any of the disease entities.
Keywords: allergies; asthma; atopy; children; cord blood; eczema; epidemiology; fatty acids; polyunsaturated fatty acids; rhinitis.
© 2014 The Authors. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.