Placental restriction of fetal growth reduces cutaneous responses to antigen after sensitization in sheep

Amy L. Wooldridge, Robert J. Bischof, Els N. Meeusen, Hong Liu, Gary K. Heinemann, Damien S. Hunter, Lynne C. Giles, Karen L. Kind, Julie A. Owens, Vicki L. Clifton, Kathryn L. Gatford

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Prenatal and early childhood exposures are implicated as causes of allergy, but the effects of intrauterine growth restriction on immune function and allergy are poorly defined. We therefore evaluated effects of experimental restriction of fetal growth on immune function and allergic sensitization in adolescent sheep. Immune function (circulating total red and white blood cells, neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils, and the antibody response to Clostridial vaccination) and responses to house dust mite (HDM) allergen and ovalbumin (OVA) antigen sensitization (specific total Ig, IgG1, and IgE antibodies, and cutaneous hypersensitivity) were investigated in adolescent sheep from placentally restricted (PR, n = 23) and control (n = 40) pregnancies. Increases in circulating HDM-specific IgE (P = 0.007) and OVA-specific IgE (P = 0.038) were greater in PR than control progeny. PR did not alter total Ig, IgG1, or IgM responses to either antigen. PR increased OVA-specific but not HDM-specific IgA responses in females only (P = 0.023). Multiple birth increased Ig responses to OVA in a sex-specific manner. PR decreased the proportion of positive cutaneous hypersensitivity responders to OVA at 24 h (P = 0.030) but had no effect on cutaneous responses to HDM. Acute wheal responses to intradermal histamine correlated positively with birth weight in singletons (P = 0.023). Intrauterine growth restriction may suppress inflammatory responses in skin downstream of IgE induction, without impairment in antibody responses to a nonpolysaccharide vaccine. Discord between cutaneous and IgE responses following sensitization suggests new mechanisms for prenatal allergy programming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R441-R446
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Allergy
  • Animal model
  • Developmental programming
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Sheep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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