University of Oulu

Pyrhönen, K, Kulmala, P. Atopic diseases of the parents predict the offspring’s atopic sensitization and food allergy. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2021; 32: 859– 871.

Atopic diseases of the parents predict the offspring’s atopic sensitization and food allergy

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Author: Pyrhönen, Kaisa1,2; Kulmala, Petri2,3
Organizations: 1Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2PEDEGO Research Unit and MRC Oulu, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
3Biomedicine Research Unit, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-10-26


Background: In genetic studies and selected study populations, parental atopy has been associated with atopic diseases in offspring. Our aim was to identify the association between parental atopic diseases and the offspring’s atopic sensitization and food allergies, and their effect modifications due to the offspring’s sex.

Methods: The study population (N = 5564) (born between 2001 and 2006) was identified from the population register and live in the province of South Karelia, Finland. Questionnaire-based information on parental atopic diseases was available for 3592 children. The results of skin prick tests, specific IgE tests, and open food challenges (OFC) were collected from patient records.

Results: By 12 years of age, the cumulative incidence of sensitization to food (14% vs 7%, hazard ratio 2.13; 95% CI 1.68–2.69), animal (10% vs 6%, 1.86; 1.42–2.44), and pollen allergens (12% vs 6%, 2.43; 1.85–3.19), as well as food allergies (positive OFC, 5% vs 2%, 2.28; 1.57–3.33), was higher in the offspring of parents with atopic diseases. The cumulative incidence for pollen sensitization was twofold higher for the female offspring of parents with atopic diseases than those of parents without, while it was almost threefold higher among males. The association between parental pollen allergy and the offspring's pollen sensitization was modified by sex according to additive scale estimates (RERI 1.03; 95% CI 0.13–1.91).

Conclusion: Until adolescence, parental atopic diseases have a relatively strong association with the offspring’s, particularly male offspring’s, atopic sensitization, and food allergies. A pronounced association was found between parental pollen allergy and the male offspring’s pollen sensitization.

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Series: Pediatric allergy and immunology
ISSN: 0905-6157
ISSN-E: 1399-3038
ISSN-L: 0905-6157
Volume: 32
Issue: 5
Pages: 859 - 871
DOI: 10.1111/pai.13462
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Funding: The Finnish Cultural Foundation, South Karelia Regional Fund (Lauri and Lahja Hotinen Fund), Northern Ostrobothnia hospital district, the Finnish Medical Association, the Viipuri Tuberculosis Foundation, the Allergy Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, South Karelia Regional fund, the Medical Society of South Karelia, the hospital district of South Karelia, the Finnish Cultural Foundation (Pekka and Jukka-Pekka Lylykari’s Fund), the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, the Alma and K.A. Snellman Foundation, the Tyyni Tani Foundation, Lappeenranta City Council, Kymenlaakson Terveyden Turva ry, the Finnish Pediatric Research Foundation and the Väinö and Laina Kivi Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology published by European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.