Cord blood LC-PUFA composition and allergic diseases during the first 10 yr. Results from the LISAplus study

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2014 Jun;25(4):344-50. doi: 10.1111/pai.12212. Epub 2014 Feb 27.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis / diagnosis
  • Anaphylaxis / epidemiology
  • Anaphylaxis / immunology
  • Child
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / blood*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / chemistry
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / immunology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Male
  • Pregnancy


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Immunoglobulin E