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Researchers identify early biomarker for future atopy in asymptomatic children
Date:7/6/2011

The signs of atopy may be present long before symptoms begin, even in month-old babies, according to a new research study from Denmark. The study found that the level of urinary eosinophil protein-X (u-EPX), a marker of inflammatory cells, in newborn babies was linked to higher risk of allergic sensitization, nasal eosinophilia and eczema at six years.

The study appeared online in advance of the print publication of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"We asked whether the allergic disease process may be active prior to the development of symptoms, and if so, whether there are biomarkers that could be clinically useful in predicting the development of disease," said principle investigator Hans Bisgaard, MD, DMSci, professor of pediatrics at the University of Copenhagen. "We found that in babies born to asthmatic mothers, urine levels of eosinophil protein-X may predict the development of allergic symptoms."

The researchers measured the levels of u-EPX and several other markers of inflammation in 369 healthy month-old infants who were enrolled in the Copenhagen Prospective Study on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC), a birth cohort study of symptom-free month-old children born to asthmatic mothers.

The children were evaluated for allergic sensitization to 16 common inhalant and food allergens at 6 months, 18 months, 4 years and 6 years. Their blood eosinophil count was also taken at these intervals. Nasal eosinophilia was investigated by nasal scraping in the child's sixth year of life, and allergic rhinitis was diagnosed by age six based on interviews of parents and the child's history of symptoms. Asthma-like symptoms, and diagnoses of asthma and eczema were also noted.

In the first year of life, four percent of the children developed asthma-like symptoms and more than one-quarter (27 percent) were diagnosed with eczema. Another 17 percent went on to
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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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