Can fish oil in pregnancy and lactation alter maternal and infant immunological responses and prevent allergy in the offspring?
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Background: A connection has been proposed between the increase of allergic disease and the altered composition of fatty acids in the diet in the westernised world. Less oily fish and more vegetable oil are consumed today compared to 50-100 years ago. Programming of the immune responses takes place very early in life and environmental factors, such as fish in the diet, have been suggested to protect from infant allergy.
Aim: The general aim of this thesis was to assess the effects of maternal dietary supplementation with ω-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA), i.e. fish oil, in pregnancy and lactation on the development of allergic symptoms and sensitisation in the infants as well as some immunological markers in mothers and infants.
Subjects and methods: This thesis is based on the results from a prospective double-blind placebo-controlled multi-centre trial comprising 145 families. Pregnant women, at risk of having an allergic infant, were recruited at the antenatal clinics and randomised to daily supplementation with 1.6 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5ω-3) and 1.1 g docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6ω-3) or placebo, starting in the 25th gestational week and continuing through 3.5 months of breastfeeding. Phospholipid fatty acids in maternal and infant plasma were analysed to assess compliance. Maternal prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), leukotriene B4 (LTB4) and cytokines along with infant vaccine induced responses and chemokines were analysed with ELISA and Luminex techniques. Clinical outcomes were allergic disease and positive skin prick test/detectable circulating IgE antibodies to common allergens.
Results: Phospholipid proportions of ω-3 LCPUFA increased significantly in the ω-3 supplemented women and their infants. Lipopolysaccharide-induced PGE2 secretion from whole blood culture supernatants decreased in a majority of the ω-3-supplemented mothers (p<0.01). The decrease in PGE2 production was more pronounced among non-atopic than atopic mothers. No difference in the prevalence of allergic symptoms was found between the intervention groups. The cumulative incidence of IgE associated eczema and IgE mediated food allergy was though reduced in the ω-3 group during the first two years (OR=0.2 and 0.3 compared to placebo, p<0.05 for both). The cumulative incidence of any IgE associated disease during the first two years of life was 13% in the ω-3 supplemented group compared to 30% in the placebo group (p=0.01, OR 0.3, p<0.05). This effect was most evident in infants of non-allergic mothers. Higher maternal and infant proportions of DHA and EPA were associated with lower prevalence of IgE associated disease (p=0.01-0.05), in a dose dependent manner. In addition, no allergic symptoms as compared to multiple allergic symptoms in the infants, regardless of sensitisation, were related to higher maternal and infant ω-3 LCPUFA status (p<0.05). In infants without, but not with, maternal history of allergy, the ω-3 supplementation was related to lower CC-chemokine ligand 17 (CCL17)/ CXC-chemokine ligand 11 (CXCL11) (Th2/Th1) ratios (p<0.05). Furthermore in non-allergic, but not in allergic infants, ω-3 supplementation was linked with higher Th1-associated CXCL11 levels (p<0.05), as well as increased IgG titres to diphtheria (p=0.01) and tetanus (p=0.05) toxins.
Conclusions: A decreased cumulative incidence of IgE associated disease in the infants was found after maternal ω-3 LCPUFA supplementation as well as a reverse dose response relationship between maternal ω-3 LCPUFA status and infant IgE associated disease. Higher plasma proportions of DHA and EPA in were also associated to less severe allergic disease. A tendency towards strengthened Th1 associated response after maternal ω-3 LCPUFA supplementation was indicated in the analysis of maternal and infant immunological markers. These effects, as well as the clinical outcomes, were more pronounced in non-allergic individuals, suggesting gene-by-environment interactions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2010. , 118 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1206
National CategoryMedical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-61947ISBN: 978-91-7393-314-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-61947DiVA: diva2:370855
2010-12-07, Berzeliussalen, Hälsouniversitetet, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00
Almqvist Malmros, Catarina, Docent
Duchén, Karel, Dr.Fälth-Magnusson, Karin, Professor
List of papers