BACKGROUND: It is not sufficient to predict 'high allergic risk newborns' on the basis of increased IgE concentrations of cord blood alone, because a raised cord blood IgE concentration is specific but not sensitive in the prediction of the development of allergic disorders. Warner et al. have reported that interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) production by allergen-triggered cord blood cells is a predictor of atopic eczema, based on the 1-year follow-up study.
OBJECTIVE: We examined whether IFN-gamma production by antigen-stimulated cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMCs) is a risk factor of allergic disorders, based on the 6-year follow-up study.
METHODS: The relationships among cord blood IgE concentrations, IFN-gamma and interleukin-2 (IL-2) productions by antigen-stimulated CBMCs, and the development of allergic disorders in 21 infants for 6 years were investigated.
RESULTS: Atopic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis and allergic rhinitis, or atopic dermatitis and bronchial asthma developed in seven of 21 subjects. The maximal IFN-gamma concentration in culture supernatants of ovalbumin (OA) or bovine serum albumin (BSA) stimulated CBMCs in infants who developed allergic disorders was significantly lower (P < 0.01) than that in infants who did not develop any allergic disorders. In contrast, the maximal IL-2 concentration in culture supernatants of OA- or BSA-stimulated CBMCs in infants who developed allergic disorders was not lower than in infants who did not develop any allergic disorders. Moreover, the IFN-gamma concentrations were negatively correlated with cord blood IgE concentrations.
CONCLUSION: Reduced IFN-gamma production by antigen-stimulated CBMCs is a risk factor of allergic disorders.