Early life environment, neurodevelopment and the interrelation with atopy

J. Sunyer, X. Basagaña, J. R. González, J. Júlvez, S. Guerra, M. Bustamante, R. de Cid, J. M. Antó, M. Torrent

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Both neurological and immunological systems are vulnerable to early life exposures. Neurological disorders and atopy have been related in animals and humans. Our main objective was to assess whether multiple exposures to early life determinants remain associated with neurodevelopment after considering the potential intermediate role of atopy. A second objective was to assess whether genes associated with atopy may inform about the potential neurotoxical mechanisms.Children were members of the AMICS birth cohort in Menorca (n=418, 87% of the recruited). General cognition was measured with the McCarthy Scales at age 4 and atopy through specific IgE at age 4 and prick test at age 6; 85 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 16 atopy and detoxification genes were genotyped.Among the 27 risk factors assessed, lower maternal social class, maternal smoking during pregnancy, being first born, shorter breastfeeding, higher DDT levels in cord blood, and higher indoor levels of NO2 (among the non-detoxifiers by GSTP1 polymorphism) were independently associated with poorer cognition. These associations were apparently not mediated by the relation between atopy and general cognition. Among the candidate atopic genes, variants in NQ01 (a detoxification gene) and NPRS1 (related with affective disorders like anxiety and stress management) had a significant association with general cognition (p-value<0.001). However, adjustment for the corresponding SNPs did not change the association between the early life determinants and general cognition.Multiple environmental pre-natal exposures were associated with neurodevelopment independently of their role in the immunological system. Atopic genes related to neurodevelopment suggest some potential mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-738
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Atopy
  • DDT
  • Genes
  • NO
  • Neurodevelopment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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