Exposure to a Farm Environment During Pregnancy Increases the Proportion of Arachidonic Acid in the Cord Sera of Offspring
Journal article, 2019
Growing up in a farm environment is protective against allergy development. Various explanations have been put forward to explain this association. Fatty acids are regulators of immune function and the composition of fatty acids in the circulation system may affect immune development. Here, we investigate whether the fatty acid composition of cord serum differs for infants born to Farm (n = 26) or non-Farm mothers (n =29) in the FARMFLORA birth-cohort. For comparison, the levels of fatty acids in the maternal diet, serum and breast milk around 1 month post-partum were recorded. The fatty acids in the cord sera from infants born to Farm mothers had higher proportions of arachidonic acid (20:4 n-6) and adrenic acid (22:4 n-6) than those from infants born to non-Farm mothers. No differences were found for either arachidonic acid or adrenic acid in the diet, samples of the serum, or breast milk from Farm and non-Farm mothers obtained around 1 month post-partum. The arachidonic and adrenic acid levels in the cord blood were unrelated to allergy outcome for the infants. The results suggest that a farm environment may be associated with the fatty acid composition to which the fetus is exposed during pregnancy.