2017 17 MAG
Type of content: news
Communicative register:
Focus area: Physicians - Family

Childhood asthma: how much is important maternal diet during pregnancy?

Scientific evidence suggests an association between the maternal diet during pregnancy and the risk of offspring asthma

The human microbiome and its host form a complex symbiosis. Changes in the human microbiome driven by diet and modern environment may increase the risk of respiratory disorders such as childhood asthma. Scientific evidence suggests an association between maternal diet during pregnancy, gut bacteria and fetal immune system. Indeed, diet is a key determinant of gut bacterial composition. Mouse studies showed that some short-chain fatty acids produced by gut bacteria influence the fetal immune system, causing a tolerogenic state that is associated with reduced risk of offspring wheeze and asthma. Such results need to be confirmed in human studies. Respiratory health is determined by complex interactions among antenatal and early-life influences and it is difficult to predict the relative contribution of any single factor in complex multifactiorial conditions such asthma. However, understanding the role of maternal diet and microbiome may be useful in finding effective prevention strategies in pregnancy to reduce the risk of offspring asthma.

Ref: Gray LE, et al. The Maternal Diet, Gut Bacteria, and Bacterial Metabolites during Pregnancy Influence Offspring Asthma. Front Immunol. 2017;8:365.

Article by Giuliana Ferrante