Research: FURUHJELM and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 208

Abstract

FURUHJELM and COLLEAGUES, Institution Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linkoping University, 581 85 Linkoping, Sweden. catrin.furuhjelm@telia.com investigated whether the previously reported preventive effect of maternal omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on IgE-associated allergic disease in infancy may be mediated by facilitating a balanced circulating Th2/Th1 chemokine profile in the infant.

Background

The authors investigated whether the previously reported preventive effect of maternal omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on IgE-associated allergic disease in infancy may be mediated by facilitating a balanced circulating Th2/Th1 chemokine profile in the infant.

Methodology

Vaccine-induced immune responses at 2 y of age were also evaluated. Pregnant women, at risk of having an allergic infant, were randomized to daily supplementation with 1.6 g eicosapentaenoic acid and 1.1 g docosahexaenoic acid or placebo from the 25th gestational week through 3.5 mo of breastfeeding. Infant plasma was analyzed for chemokines (cord blood, 3, 12, 24 mo) and anti-tetanus and anti-diphtheria IgG (24 mo).

Results

High Th2-associated CC-chemokine ligand 17 (CCL17) levels were associated with infant allergic disease (p < 0.05). In infants without, but not with, maternal history of allergy, the omega-3 supplementation was related to lower CCL17/CXC-chemokine ligand 11 (CXCL11) (Th2/Th1) ratios (p < 0.05). Furthermore, in nonallergic, but not in allergic infants, omega-3 supplementation was linked with higher Th1-associated CXCL11 levels (p < 0.05), as well as increased IgG titers to diphtheria (p = 0.01) and tetanus (p = 0.05) toxins.

Conclusion

Thus, the prospect of balancing the infant immune system toward a less Th2-dominated response, by maternal omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, seems to be influenced by allergic status.

References

Furuhjelm C, Jenmalm MC, Falth-Magnusson K and Duchen K. Th1 and Th2 chemokines, vaccine-induced immunity, and allergic disease in infants after maternal omega-3 fatty acid supplementation during pregnancy and lactation. Pediatric Research. 69(3):259-64. Mar 2011.

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