Journal of Clinical Immunology

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 329–337 | Cite as

Fetal Cord Blood: Aspects of Heightened Immune Responses

  • B. Schaub
  • K. G. Tantisira
  • F. K. Gibbons
  • H. He
  • A. A. Litonjua
  • M. W. Gillman
  • S. Weiss
  • D. L. Perkins
  • D. R. Gold
  • P. W. Finn


Neonatal immune responses have been associated with the development of atopy in childhood. We assessed in cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMC) whether increased allergen/mitogen-induced lymphoproliferation (LP) is associated with pro-allergic Th2 cytokine IL-13 or Th1 cytokine IFN-γ secretion. We determined whether LP to one allergen is related to heightened lymphocyte function to other allergens/mitogen. CBMC from 135 neonates were stimulated with house dust mite (Derf1), cockroach, ovalbumin, or mitogen. LP to one allergen was associated with significantly increased LP to other allergens/mitogen. Increased Derf1-LP was associated with increased Derf1-induced IL-13 secretion (r = 0.21, p = 0.01). After adjusting for neonatal gender, race, and maternal smoking, Derf1-LP remained associated with Derf1-IL-13 (OR 3.08, 95% CI 1.56–6.10). Increased mitogen-induced proliferation was associated with increased mitogen-induced IL-13 secretion (r = 0.37, p < 0.001). For some individuals, a predisposition to a heightened immune response is already evident at birth. Whether this phenotype results in atopy in childhood warrants further investigation.

Key Words

Allergens cord blood immunology lymphocytes neonatal 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Schaub
    • 1
    • 6
  • K. G. Tantisira
    • 2
  • F. K. Gibbons
    • 3
  • H. He
    • 3
  • A. A. Litonjua
    • 2
  • M. W. Gillman
    • 4
  • S. Weiss
    • 2
  • D. L. Perkins
    • 5
  • D. R. Gold
    • 2
  • P. W. Finn
    • 3
  1. 1.University Children’s HospitalMunichGermany
  2. 2.Channing LaboratoryBrigham and Women’s HospitalBoston
  3. 3.Pulmonary and Critical Care DivisionBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBoston
  4. 4.Department of Ambulatory Care and PreventionHarvard Pilgrim Health CareBoston
  5. 5.Immunogenetics and TransplantationBrigham and Women’s HospitalBoston
  6. 6.University Children’s HospitalMunichGermany

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