Allergies are the most common chronic disease in the young, affecting one third of the Swedish children. Allergy therefore constitutes a main public health problem mainly affecting urbanized Westernized societies, but increasing globally in parallel with economic growth and development. The project combines leading competences in food science/nutrition, immunology,microbiology and systems biology. Goals: i) To determine how the timing of introduction of complementary foods affects the complexity of the gut microbiota, and in turn, immune maturation and allergy development. ii) To determine the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and key micronutrients (vitamins, A, D, zinc and iron) on the infant´s developing immune system with focus on their risk of allergy development. Methods: Existing and new birth-cohort studies (following infants from birth onwards while monitoring diet, microbial colonization, immune development, transcriptomics analyses of blood and placenta samples and genes affecting infant PUFA levels). Cell culture studies on immune cells from newborn infants to determine mechanisms involved in the programming of the infants immune system. Significance: The project will provide scientific evidence for influence of diet early in life on allergy development in children, and form the bases for dietary guidelines to pregnant and lactating women and young infants.
Professor at Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science
Funding years 2014–2018