August 24, 2015
1 min read

Prenatal C-reactive protein levels indicative of early-onset asthma

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Systemic inflammation in at-risk mothers during pregnancy may be indicative of a prenatal environment that could increase a child’s risk for asthma and wheezing early in life, according to study results.

“Our research suggests a relationship between maternal inflammation and fetal immune development that may lead to childhood asthma,” Brittany Lapin, PhD, MPH, a statistician at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Illinois, told “Interestingly, this relationship may be stronger in children who have a lower risk for developing asthma.”

Brittany Lapin

Brittany Lapin

Lapin and colleagues used data from the Peer Education in Pregnancy Study from 1998 through 2009 to analyze the association of systemic inflammation — as measured by C-reactive protein levels — with asthma and wheezing in children within an at-risk cohort. 

The analysis included 244 mother–child pairs with an average maternal age of 25.7 years and a median prenatal C-reactive protein (CRP) level of 4.9 mg/L. Sixty-six percent of the study population included pairings of Mexican descent, and 34% of the population had maternal asthma.

Continuous prenatal CRP levels appeared predictive of asthma by year 3 (aRR = 2.4; 95% CI, 1.3-3.6) and wheezing in year 3 (aRR = 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1-2.4).

However, children born to mothers of Mexican descent had a moderate risk for asthma by year 3 (RR = 0.48; 95% CI, 0.22-0.97).

“In this study, Mexican children with mothers who do not smoke were at a lower risk of developing asthma by age 3,” Lapin told “More research is necessary in this area before any suggestions can be made for pregnant women." – by Ryan McDonald

Disclosure: Lapin reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the full study for a list of all other researchers’ relevant financial disclosures.