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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Taiwan: Sex-moderated Interactions Between IL4/IL13 Pathway Genes and Prenatal Environment on Cord Blood IgE Levels

Sex moderates the gene‐environment interactions involving IL4/IL13 pathway genes and prenatal household environments on cord blood IgE (cIgE) elevation, according to the research led by Dr. Wei J. Chen at National Taiwan University and Dr. Chien-Han Chen at Fu Jen Catholic University. “Sex‐moderated interactions between IL4/IL13 pathway genes and prenatal environment on cord blood IgE levels” was published online by Clinical and Experimental Allergy.

Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to elevated cIgE, a predictor of atopic diseases. “However, gene-environment interactions remain largely unexplored,” said Dr. Wei J. Chen, corresponding author. To address this issue, the research team collected information on environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and home dampness (indexed by combining mildewy odour, visible mould, and water stamp on the wall) during the third trimester of pregnancy. Five single nucleotide polymorphisms of three candidate genes (IL13 rs1800925, rs20541, rs848, IL4 rs2243250 and STAT6 rs324011) were genotyped in 1107 full-term newborns recruited in the gene and environment interaction birth cohort study.

“When we stratified the association analyses by neonatal sex, several significant gene‐environment interactions on cIgE elevation were observed in male but not female newborns,” said Dr. Chien-Han Chen, first-author of the paper, including those between ETS and IL13 rs20541, between home dampness and STAT6 rs324011, and between composite environmental exposure (combined ETS and the three home dampness indices) and STAT6 rs324011. These findings support an important role of neonatal sex in moderating the gene‐environment interactions involving IL4/IL13 pathway genes and prenatal household environments on cIgE elevation.

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