The Role of Early Life Food Sensitization in Adolescent Lung Function: Results from 2 Birth Cohort Studies

Shatha Alduraywish, A. Luzak, Caroline Lodge, F. Aldakheel, Bircan Erbas, Katrina Allen, Melanie Matheson, Lyle Gurrin, Joachim Heinrich, I. Lehmann, Andrea von Berg, M. Standl, Michael Abramson, Holger Schulz, Adrian Lowe, Shyamali C. Dharmage

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Background: It is unclear whether early life food sensitization (as opposed to aeroallergen sensitization) is associated with subsequent poor lung function. Objectives: We investigated the associations between food sensitization in the first 2 years of life and lung function at 12 to 18 years and whether these observed associations are mediated through aeroallergen sensitization or asthma. Methods: We used data from a high-risk cohort (Melbourne Atopy Cohort Study [MACS]) and a population-based “Influence of life-style–related factors on the development of the Immune System and Allergies in East and West Germany plus the influence of traffic emissions and genetics” (LISAplus) cohort. Food sensitization was assessed at 6, 12, and 24 months in MACS and 24 months in LISAplus. Lung function was evaluated by spirometry at 12 and 18 years in MACS and 15 years in LISAplus. Linear regression models were used to estimate the association with sensitization (food and/or aeroallergen) while adjusting for potential confounders. Results: Sensitization to food without aeroallergen at 6 months was associated with reduced forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) at both 12 years (−153 mL; 95% confidence interval [CI] = −256 mL, −51 mL) and 18 years (−206 mL; 95% CI = −347 mL, −65 mL) in MACS. Similar results were observed for sensitization measured at 12 months but not at 24 months. Early-life asthma (but not aeroallergen sensitization) partially mediated these associations. Both cohorts showed that only aeroallergen sensitization at 24 months but not food sensitization was associated with lower adolescent lung function. Conclusions: This study showed that food sensitization at 6 and 12 months was associated with reduced FEV1 in adolescence. Our finding that this link is not completely mediated by either subsequent asthma or aeroallergen sensitization is novel and suggests that early food sensitization itself can be used to identify high-risk groups for poor lung health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1825-1834.e12
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Atopy
  • FEV
  • FEV/FVC ratio
  • Food sensitization
  • FVC
  • Lung function
  • Spirometry

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