Maternal folate status is linked with the risk of allergic disorders including atopic dermatitis (AD) in children, but findings remain inconclusive. We aim to assess the relationship between maternal folate status in early gestation and early-onset infant AD, based on a prospective mother-child cohort study.
Pregnant women were recruited at 12 to 14 weeks of gestation. Red blood cell folate (RBC folate) and serum folate concentrations were examined at enrollment. Periconceptional folic acid supplementation was investigated through a self-administered questionnaire. The primary outcome was AD incidence before 6 months of age, diagnosed according to Williams’ criteria. Multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate associations of maternal folate status with infant AD by adjusting parental and child covariates.
In total, 107 (23.4%) of 458 infants developed AD before 6 months, with more male infants affected (p = 0.002). Higher maternal RBC folate levels (per 100 ng/mL) were associated with an increased risk of AD (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04-1.31). An RBC folate level ≥ 620 ng/mL was associated with increased infant AD by 91% (aOR 1.91, 95% CI 1.09-3.36). However, associations were not observed for maternal serum folate at early gestation or periconceptional folic acid supplement intakes.
We provide the first evidence that higher maternal RBC folate concentrations during early gestation are associated with increased early-onset infant AD. Our findings support the importance of maintaining appropriate folate levels during the periconceptional period to reduce the risk of AD in infants.
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