Early-life inhalant allergen exposure, filaggrin genotype, and the development of sensitization from infancy to adolescence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Helen A. Brough
  • Sadia Haider
  • Danielle Belgrave
  • Clare S. Murray
  • Adnan Custovic


Background: We hypothesized that filaggrin (FLG) loss-of-function mutations modify the effect of allergen exposure on the development of allergic sensitization. Objective: We sought to determine whether early-life exposure to inhalant allergens increases the risk of specific sensitization and whether FLG mutations modulate these odds. Methods: In a population-based birth cohort we measured mite, cat, and dog allergen levels in dust samples collected from homes within the first year of life. Sensitization was assessed at 6 time points between infancy and age 16 years. Genotyping was performed for 6 FLG mutations. Results: In the longitudinal multivariable model (age 1-16 years), we observed a significant interaction between FLG and Fel d 1 exposure on cat sensitization, with the effect of exposure being significantly greater among children with FLG mutations compared with those without (odds ratio, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.02-1.80; P = .035). The increase in risk of mite sensitization with increasing Der p 1 exposure was consistently greater among children with FLG mutations, but the interaction did not reach statistical significance. Different associations were observed for dogs: there was a significant interaction between FLG and dog ownership, but the risk of sensitization to any allergen was significantly lower among children with FLG mutations who were exposed to a dog in infancy (odds ratio, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.03-0.86; P = .03). Conclusions: FLG loss-of-function mutations modify the relationship between allergen exposure and sensitization, but effects differ at different ages and between different allergens.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1001
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020