Early life IgE responses in children living in the tropics: A prospective analysis

Josefina Zakzuk, Nathalie Acevedo, Liliana Cifuentes, Adriana Bornacelly, Jorge Sánchez, Velky Ahumada, Johannes Ring, Markus Ollert, Luis Caraballo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There are few birth cohort studies analyzing IgE sensitization in the tropics. Objectives: We aimed to describe the evolution of total IgE and specific IgE responses to house-dust mite (HDM) allergens and Ascaris in a birth cohort (Risk Factors for Asthma and Allergy in the Tropics, FRAAT), analyzing their relationships with wheezing. Methods: Total and specific IgE were measured by ImmunoCap in mothers and children at four different time points (S1-S4) between 0 and 42 months. Parasite infection was evaluated by stool examination. Results: Maternal total IgE (aOR: 2.43, 95% CI: 1.09-5.43; p = 0.03) and socio-demographic factors were associated with high cord blood (CB) total IgE. High CB total IgE was positively associated with higher Blomia tropicalis and Ascaris-specific IgE values during lifetime, but protected from recurrent wheezing (aOR: 0.26, 95% CI: 0.08-0.88, p = 0.03). Prevalence rates of IgE sensitization were high; at around 3 yr old, they were 33.3, 18.6, and 26.5% for B. tropicalis, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, and Ascaris, respectively. Indicators of unhygienic conditions were risk factors for HDM and Ascaris sensitization in children. A weak statistical association between B. tropicalis-specific IgE and ever wheezing was found (aOR: 1.47 95% CI: 1.00-2.28, p = 0.05). Conclusions: In a socioeconomically deprived community from the tropics, sensitization to HDM allergens was very frequent at early life, especially to B. tropicalis. In contrast to expected according to the hygiene hypothesis, unhygienic/poverty conditions were risk factors for allergen sensitization. High CB total IgE levels were a risk factor for allergen sensitization but protected from recurrent wheezing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-797
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Allergy and Immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Allergy
  • Ascaris
  • Blomia tropicalis
  • Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus
  • IgE
  • Sensitization
  • Tropics
  • Wheezing


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