European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 28, Issue 7, pp 597–606 | Cite as

Traffic, asthma and genetics: combining international birth cohort data to examine genetics as a mediator of traffic-related air pollution’s impact on childhood asthma

  • Elaina A. MacIntyre
  • Christopher Carlsten
  • Meaghan MacNutt
  • Elaine Fuertes
  • Eric Melén
  • Carla M. T. Tiesler
  • Ulrike Gehring
  • Ursula Krämer
  • Claudia Klümper
  • Marjan Kerkhof
  • Moira Chan-Yeung
  • Anita L. Kozyrskyj
  • Dietrich Berdel
  • Carl Peter Bauer
  • Olf Herbarth
  • Mario Bauer
  • Beate Schaaf
  • Sibylle Koletzko
  • Goran Pershagen
  • Bert Brunekreef
  • Joachim Heinrich
  • Michael Brauer


Associations between traffic-related air pollution and incident childhood asthma can be strengthened by analysis of gene-environment interactions, but studies have typically been limited by lack of study power. We combined data from six birth cohorts on: asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis to 7/8 years, and candidate genes. Individual-level assessment of traffic-related air pollution exposure was estimated using land use regression or dispersion modeling. A total of 11,760 children were included in the Traffic, Asthma and Genetics (TAG) Study; 6.3 % reported physician-diagnosed asthma at school-age, 16.0 % had asthma at anytime during childhood, 14.1 % had allergic rhinitis at school-age, 10.0 % had eczema at school-age and 33.1 % were sensitized to any allergen. For GSTP1 rs1138272, the prevalence of heterozygosity was 16 % (range amongst individual cohorts, 11–17 %) and homozygosity for the minor allele was 1 % (0–2 %). For GSTP1 rs1695, the prevalence of heterozygosity was 45 % (40–48 %) and homozygosity for the minor allele, 12 % (10–12 %). For TNF rs1800629, the prevalence of heterozygosity was 29 % (25–32 %) and homozygosity for the minor allele, 3 % (1–3 %). TAG comprises a rich database, the largest of its kind, for investigating the effect of genotype on the association between air pollution and childhood allergic disease.


Air pollution GSTP1 TNF Asthma Wheeze Gene-environment 



Air pollution modelling for support to policy on health and environmental risk in Europe


Children, allergy, Milieu, Stockholm, epidemiological survey


Canadian asthma primary prevention study


German infant study on the influence of nutritional intervention plus environmental and genetic influences on allergy development


Glutathione S-transferase pi 1


Lifestyle related factors, immune system and the development of allergies in East and West Germany plus the influence of traffic emissions and genetics study


Land-use regression


Nitrogen dioxide




Prevention and Incidence of asthma and mite allergy


Particulate matter of diameter less than 2.5 µm


Study of asthma, genes, and environment


Traffic, asthma and genetics study


Tumour necrosis factor


Toll-like receptor


Traffic-related air pollution

Supplementary material

10654_2013_9828_MOESM1_ESM.docx (41 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 42 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elaina A. MacIntyre
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christopher Carlsten
    • 3
  • Meaghan MacNutt
    • 4
  • Elaine Fuertes
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eric Melén
    • 5
    • 6
  • Carla M. T. Tiesler
    • 2
    • 7
  • Ulrike Gehring
    • 8
  • Ursula Krämer
    • 9
  • Claudia Klümper
    • 9
  • Marjan Kerkhof
    • 10
  • Moira Chan-Yeung
    • 3
  • Anita L. Kozyrskyj
    • 11
  • Dietrich Berdel
    • 12
  • Carl Peter Bauer
    • 13
  • Olf Herbarth
    • 14
  • Mario Bauer
    • 15
  • Beate Schaaf
    • 16
  • Sibylle Koletzko
    • 17
  • Goran Pershagen
    • 5
  • Bert Brunekreef
    • 8
    • 18
  • Joachim Heinrich
    • 2
  • Michael Brauer
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Population and Public HealthUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Epidemiology I, Helmholtz Zentrum MünchenGerman Research Centre for Environmental HealthNeuherbergGermany
  3. 3.Department of MedicineUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  4. 4.Respiratory Medicine DivisionUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  5. 5.Institute of Environmental MedicineKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  6. 6.Sachs’ Children’s HospitalStockholmSweden
  7. 7.Division of Metabolic Diseases and Nutritional Medicine, Dr. von Hauner Children’s HospitalLudwig-Maximilians-University of MunichMunichGermany
  8. 8.Institute for Risk Assessment SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  9. 9.Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental MedicineUniversity of DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  10. 10.University Medical Center Groningen, GRIAC Research InstituteUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  11. 11.Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Women and Children’s Research Institute, School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaAlbertaCanada
  12. 12.Department of PediatricsMarien-Hospital WeselWeselGermany
  13. 13.Department of PediatricsTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany
  14. 14.Faculty of Medicine, Environmental Medicine and HygieneUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  15. 15.Department for Environmental ImmunologyHelmholtz Centre for Environmental Research—UFZLeipzigGermany
  16. 16.Medical Practice for PediatricsBad HonnefGermany
  17. 17.Division of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Dr. von Hauner Children’s HospitalLudwig-Maximilians-University of MunichMunichGermany
  18. 18.Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary CareUniversity Medical Center UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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