Background: The "atopic march" has been considered a linear progression starting with eczema and culminating with development of asthma. Not all asthma cases, however, are preceded by eczema, and not all children with eczema go on to develop asthma.
Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the impact of allergic sensitization patterns on the association between early eczema and later childhood asthma. Given the numerous reported associations of the ciliary gene KIF3A with the atopic march, we also examined the impact of KIF3A risk allele rs12186803 on our analyses.
Methods: We studied 505 participants in the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS), a prospective birth cohort, with longitudinal eczema and asthma outcomes as well as prospective data regarding timing of sensitization to foods and aeroallergens. KIF3A genotypes were available on all children.
Results: Two high-risk groups were identified: one with and one without early eczema. The high-risk group with early eczema was more likely to be sensitized to food allergens, while the group without early eczema was more likely to be polysensitized to aeroallergens. The KIF3A rs12186803 risk allele interacted with food sensitization to increase asthma risk in children with eczema (P = 0.02). In children without eczema, asthma was associated with the interaction between rs12186803 and aeroallergen sensitization (P = 0.007).
Conclusions & clinical relevance: KIF3A interacted differentially with sensitization pattern to increase the risk of asthma in two high-risk groups of children with and without early eczema. Given the reported role of KIF3A in epithelial cell functioning, the results add evidence to the hypothesis that an impaired epithelial barrier is a key aspect in the development of allergic disease.
Keywords: Eczema; KIF3A; asthma; atopic dermatitis; phenotype.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.