Pollution & Health

    Food & Nutrition

    Women's Health

Post-Doctoral Fellowships


Allergy: environmental and nutritional programming in childhood

What mothers-to-be eat and breathe can have an impact on the future baby, possibly leading to the development of allergic diseases. Dr. Langie hypothesizes that diet, life style habits and air pollutants, for instance, can alter gene expression without changing DNA sequence (i.e. via altered DNA methylation patterns) leading to changes in the child’s immune system. Identifying predictive biomarkers of allergic diseases could help creating prevention strategies, in children or before pregnancy.

How environment influences allergy before and after birth

In her own words

Oh no, the symptoms are back. Again. A runny nose, days spent sneezing, watery eyes... Like almost one in every two Europeans, you have an allergic disease, which might well have started when you were a child. Or even earlier? Part of the explanation for these diseases is genetic, but experts have also known for some time that what mothers-to-be eat and breathe can have an impact on the future baby. Processed food, life style habits (e.g. smoking) and air pollutants, for instance, create oxidative stress that can alter gene expression (without changing DNA).
That is why Dr Sabine Langie has decided to explore further the hypothesis about lifestyle factors influencing the immune system. She will analyse questionnaires and blood samples gathered from 1450 mother/child pairs by VITO. If predictive biomarkers of allergic diseases can be detected early, prevention strategies, particularly in children or before pregnancy, could be developed.

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Flemish Institute for Technological Research





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