Ashley-Martin J, Dodds L, Levy AR, Platt RW, Marshall JS, Arbuckle TE. Environmental Research. 2015 Jul;140:360-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.04.010
The fetal time period is a critical window of immune system development and resulting heightened susceptibility to the adverse effects of environmental exposures. Epidemiologists and toxicologists have hypothesized that phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA) and perfluoroalkyl substance have immunotoxic properties. Immunotoxic effects of chemicals may manifest in an altered immune system profile at birth. Immunoglobulin E, thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), and interleukin-33 (IL-33) are integral in the etiology of childhood allergy and detectable at birth. The objective of this study was to determine the association between maternal levels of phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), and perfluoroalkyl substances and elevated umbilical cord blood levels of IgE, TSLP, and IL-33. This study utilized data collected in the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study, a trans-Canada cohort study of 2001 pregnant women. Of these women, 1258 had a singleton, term birth and cord blood sample. A Bayesian hierarchical model was employed to determine associations between log-transformed continuous variables and immune system biomarkers while adjusting for potential confounding from correlated environmental contaminants. Inverse, nonlinear associations were observed between maternal urinary MCPP levels and elevated levels of both IL-33/TSLP and IgE and between maternal urinary BPA levels and elevated levels of IL-33/TSLP. In this primarily urban Canadian population of pregnant women and their newborns, maternal urinary and plasma concentrations of phthalate metabolites, BPA, and perfluoroalkyl substances were not associated with immunotoxic effects that manifest as increased odds of elevated levels of IgE, TSLP or IL-33.