Association between perfluoroalkyl substance exposure and asthma and allergic disease in children as modified by MMR vaccination

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Clara Amalie Gade Timmermann, Esben Budtz-Jørgensen, Tina Kold Jensen, Christa Elyse Osuna, Maria Skaalum Petersen, Ulrike Steuerwald, Flemming Nielsen, Lars K. Poulsen, Pál Weihe, Philippe Grandjean

Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are highly persistent chemicals that might be associated with asthma and allergy, but the associations remain unclear. Therefore, this study examined whether pre- and postnatal PFAS exposure was associated with childhood asthma and allergy. Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination in early life may have a protective effect against asthma and allergy, and MMR vaccination is therefore taken into account when evaluating these associations. In a cohort of Faroese children whose mothers were recruited during pregnancy, serum concentrations of five PFASs - Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) - were measured at three timepoints (maternal serum in pregnancy week 34-36 and child serum at ages 5 and 13 years) and their association with immunoglobulin E (IgE) (cord blood and at age 7 years) and asthma/allergic diseases (questionnaires at ages 5 and 13 years and skin prick test at age 13 years) was determined. A total of 559 children were included in the analyses. Interactions with MMR vaccination were evaluated. Among 22 MMR-unvaccinated children, higher levels of the five PFASs at age 5 years were associated with increased odds of asthma at ages 5 and 13. The associations were reversed among MMR-vaccinated children. Prenatal PFAS exposure was not associated with childhood asthma or allergic diseases regardless of MMR vaccination status. In conclusion, PFAS exposure at age 5 was associated with increased risk of asthma among a small subgroup of MMR-unvaccinated children but not among MMR-vaccinated children. While PFAS exposure may impact immune system functions, this study suggests that MMR vaccination might be a potential effect-modifier.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Immunotoxicology
Volume14
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
ISSN1547-691X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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ID: 172150174