Maternal contact with farm animals and cats during pregnancy may protect against atopic dermatitis in children

Studies have suggested that prenatal farm exposures might protect against allergic disease and increase the expression of receptors of the innate immune system.

1,000 children articipated in a birth cohort study in Switzerland. Doctor-diagnosed atopic dermatitis was reported by the parents from 1 to 2 years of age, Gene expression of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and CD14 was assessed in cord blood leukocytes by quantitative PCR.

Maternal contact with farm animals and cats during pregnancy had a protective effect on atopic dermatitis in the first 2 years of life. The risk of atopic dermatitis was reduced by more than half among children with mothers having contact with 3 or more farm animal species.

Elevated expression of TLR5 and TLR9 in cord blood was associated with decreased prevalence of atopic dermatitis.

Maternal contact with farm animals and cats during pregnancy has a protective effect on the development of atopic dermatitis in early life.

Children living on a farm are at reduced risk of asthma (OR 0.68), hay fever (OR, 0.43), atopic dermatitis (OR, 0.80), and atopic sensitization (OR, 0.54)

Pathogen Recognition Receptors, TLRs. This video is from: Janeway's Immunobiology, 7th Edition Murphy, Travers, & Walport. Source: Garland Science.


Prenatal animal contact and gene expression of innate immunity receptors at birth are associated with atopic dermatitis. Roduit C, Wohlgensinger J, Frei R, Bitter S, Bieli C, Loeliger S, Büchele G, Riedler J, Dalphin JC, Remes S, Roponen M, Pekkanen J, Kabesch M, Schaub B, von Mutius E, Braun-Fahrländer C, Lauener R; PASTURE Study Group. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Nov 26.

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and CD14

Protective role of contact with livestock and farming lifestyle on asthma, in particular during childhood. ERJ January 1, 2012 vol. 39 no. 1 67-75.

Image source:, public domain.

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