The LINA cohort: indoor chemical exposure, circulating eosinophil/basophil (Eo/B) progenitors and early life skin manifestations
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BACKGROUND: Hematopoietic progenitor cells, especially those committed to the Eo/B lineage, are known to contribute to allergic inflammation. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether environmental factors are associated with changes in numbers of circulating Eo/B progenitors at 1 year of age. METHODS: Peripheral blood from 60 1-year-old children enrolled in the LINA (Lifestyle and environmental factors and their Influence on Newborns Allergy risk) birth cohort was assessed for Eo/B progenitor cells (Eo/B CFU) using standardized and validated methylcellulose assays. Frozen peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were cultured in the presence of IL-3, IL-5 or GM-CSF, and Eo/B CFUs enumerated. Clinical outcomes and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) were documented by standardized questionnaires, and indoor volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations were assessed by passive sampling. RESULTS: Children with skin manifestations (atopic dermatitis or cradle cap) within the first year of life had higher numbers of circulating IL-3-, IL-5- or GM-CSF-stimulated Eo/B CFUs (P < 0.05) at 1 year. In children with cradle cap, a positive correlation was found between Eo/B CFUs and exposure to ETS-related VOCs during pregnancy or at 1 year of age (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This is the first demonstration that environmental exposures are positively associated with levels of circulating Eo/B progenitors. The recruitment and differentiation of Eo/B progenitors in response to environmental triggers may play a role in the development of skin manifestations during the first year of life.
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