The role of the early-life environment in the development of allergic disease

Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2015 Feb;35(1):1-17. doi: 10.1016/j.iac.2014.09.002. Epub 2014 Oct 18.


A consensus has been reached that the development of allergic disorders is strongly influenced by early life exposures. An overview of several prenatal and early life factors that have been investigated for their associations with development of childhood allergy is presented. Delivery mode, the gut microbiome, vitamin D, folate, breastfeeding, pets, antibiotics, environmental tobacco smoke, and airborne traffic pollutants are discussed. Although many studies suggest an effect, overall, no risk factors clearly increase or reduce the risk of allergic outcomes.

Keywords: Allergy; Asthma; Atopic dermatitis; Eczema; IgE; Prenatal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / immunology
  • Breast Feeding
  • Cesarean Section
  • Environment
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Microbiota / immunology
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / metabolism


  • Air Pollutants
  • Vitamin D