Background: Variation in the Toll-like receptor 2 gene (TLR2/-16934) is associated with allergic diseases among farmers' children but not among children not living on farms. Objective: To test the hypothesis that the same genetic variant conferring protection in the farming environment is associated with reduced risk of developing allergic phenotypes among urban children attending day care in early life. Methods: In 2 population-based birth cohorts (Manchester, United Kingdom, Manchester Asthma and Allergy Study [MAAS]; Tucson, Ariz, Tucson Infant Immune Study [IIS]), participants were recruited prenatally and followed prospectively (MAAS: 3, 5, 8 and 11 years; IIS: 1, 2, 3 and 5 years). We assessed allergic sensitization and atopic wheezing at each follow-up. Results: A total of 727 children participated in Manchester and 263 in Tucson. We found no significant associations between TLR2/-16934 and sensitization and atopic wheeze in either cohort. However, a different pattern emerged when we explored the interaction between TLR2/-16934 and day care attendance on these outcomes. We found a significant interaction between day care and TLR2/-16934 on the development of sensitization in the longitudinal model in MAAS in that children carrying the T allele who attended day care were less likely to be sensitized than those who did not attend day care, whereas among AA homozygotes, the association tended to be in the opposite direction. In a longitudinal model in IIS, we found a significant interaction between day care attendance and TLR2/-16934 on the development atopic wheezing. Significant interactions between TLR2/-16934 and day care were maintained when adjusting for socioeconomic status. Conclusion: The effect of day care on sensitization and atopic wheezing may differ among children with different variants of the TLR2 gene.
- Gene*environment interactions
- allergic sensitization
- birth cohorts
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy