Grass pollen exposure in utero shows possible riskOctober 10, 2018
A recent study provides new insights into the effect of grass pollen exposure, at birth and shortly after, being responsible for possible allergic respiratory diseases. Three birth cohort studies based in Australia, Denmark and Germany conducted by Susanto et al,from La Trobe University, analyzed the umbilical cord blood collected from hundreds of babies born during and soon after peak grass pollen season. Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which is used as a marker to predict the development of allergic diseases, were found to be higher in cord blood of babies born during grass pollen seasonsin cities from both hemispheres. But increased pollen loads in the environment during the entire pregnancy appeared protective, which indicates possible development of a sensitization barrier. Thus, the study focused on the effect of pollen exposure in utero, which was previously a mere suspected concept relating to respiratory disorders. The researchers also stressed the fact that not all babies born during the high pollen seasons developed respiratory diseases or other allergies. They also emphasized the need for more research to be done, though the current study helps predict and manage diseases like asthma which are relevant public health burden.