Parental history of atopic disease: Disease pattern and risk of pediatric atopy in offspring

Sharon Hensley Alford, Edward Zoratti, Edward L. Peterson, Mary Maliarik, Dennis R. Ownby, Christine Cole Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Family history is an important risk factor for atopic disease. However, most studies assess only limited information on family history. Because atopic disease can exhibit transient or persistent patterns, it may be useful to assess information on patterns of disease within families. This approach has been applied in other diseases, such as cancer, to discriminate between predominately inherited versus environmentally caused (sporadic) cases. In a cohort of children who were followed from birth until age 6 to 7 years, we examined the relationship between parental onset (ie, childhood and adulthood) and duration of atopic disease (ie, persistent disease) and the risk of pediatric atopic disease. Our hypothesis was that different parental disease patterns would be important to pediatric risk of disease. Data from 476 families in the ongoing Childhood Allergy Study in Detroit, Mich, were analyzed by using logistic regression. We examined the association between parental patterns of disease and disease onset in their children. Father's disease history, particularly asthma history, was more strongly related to pediatric outcomes than mother's history. Asthma status in the fathers, whether it was childhood-only, adulthood-only, or persistent, was associated with current asthma in the children. Childhood-only and persistent asthma in fathers conferred a higher risk of atopy in the study children, whereas adulthood-only disease did not. There was also a significant relationship between persistent allergy in the father and atopy in the study children. Our data support the hypothesis that there are complex inheritance patterns for allergy and asthma. Therefore, a detailed family history of atopy, including childhood and adulthood experiences, is critical to identifying and classifying risk and disease phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1046-1050
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Allergy
  • asthma
  • family history
  • pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Parental history of atopic disease: Disease pattern and risk of pediatric atopy in offspring'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this