Maternal History of Asthma Drives Risk of Atopic Dermatitis for Their Children

April 9, 2021
Jaime Rosenberg

Children who were born to women with a history of asthma had a 45% increased risk of being diagnosed with atopic dermatitis/eczema up to age 8 years.

New study results show that women with a history of asthma are significantly more likely to have children with respiratory and allergic conditions, including atopic dermatitis (AD).

Among the findings is a novel revelation that children who were born to women with a history of asthma had a 45% increased risk of being diagnosed with AD/eczema up to age 8 years.

“These findings will allow clinicians to provide specific information about risk of allergic disease to families,” suggested the researchers, emphasizing the potential to provide personalized information to families. “In addition, the findings also will allow those designing interventions to target families who are at highest risk.”

The longitudinal study included electronic medical record data from more than 1000 pairs of mothers and children between 2009 and 2014. Analyses controlled for several factors, including prenatal and early life factors, which have been previously implicated in child allergy outcomes in some studies.

Observations from the study also showed that mothers having a history of allergic rhinitis did not increase the risk of their child developing any of the studied allergic diseases, and a maternal history of both asthma and allergic rhinitis only increased the risk of AD/eczema.

When discussing these results, the researchers noted that it is not clear whether the relationship between maternal asthma and AD is caused by genetic, environmental, and/or maternal dietary factors. The researchers highlighted a study of twins, which showed that twins with asthma often have a twin who has AD.

“It is widely accepted that the predisposition to atopy is passed on from parents to the child, although which gene or genes have effects on offspring allergy has not been fully established,” wrote the researchers. “It is also unclear whether the disease seen in the mother is associated specifically with the same disease in the offspring, or with other allergic diseases.”

Other findings from the study show that offspring of women with a history of asthma were 77% more likely to develop asthma and 65% more likely to develop wheezing. There were no notable increases observed in the risk of allergic rhinitis or food allergies.

The relationship between maternal history of asthma and the risk of their child developing asthma has been documented previously, including in a systematic review of 27 studies.

Reference

Venter C, Palumbo M, Sauder K, et al. Incidence and timing of offspring asthma, wheeze, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, and food allergy and association with maternal history of asthma and allergic rhinitis. World Allergy Organ J. 2021;14(3):100526.