The Infant Immune Study (IIS) was started in 1996 with the goal of exploring immune system markers of the early life origins of asthma. Over the next 7 years, 482 mothers in the third trimester of pregnancy agreed to enroll their infant in the study at birth. The IIS is a population-based, non-selected, prospective birth cohort study.
The IIS was continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health through 2013. Starting with the prenatal maternal visit, samples and questionnaires have been collected from the mothers, fathers and enrolled children at regular intervals. Including the collection of umbilical cord blood, there have been 7 evaluations completed at ages 3 months, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 9 years of age. At each evaluation, a blood sample was collected and peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated. A portion of the cells were frozen (fresh frozen) and a portion were cultured and stimulated with mitogens, allergens, respiratory syncytial virus, and lipopolysaccharide. The culture supernatants were then collected and stored for measurement of biomarkers. We have completed measurements of many biomarkers including IFN-y, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, and TNF-a. In addition to the blood sample drawn for cell cultures, additional blood samples were drawn for serum/plasma, DNA extraction and complete blood cell counts. Serum/plasma levels of total IgE and allergen-specific IgE to several aeroallergens and foods have been completed. At age 9 years, children performed pulmonary function testing (PFT) and bronchial hyper-responsiveness testing (cold air challenge). Allergy skin prick tests to local aeroallergens were performed on the children at ages 5 and 9 years and on the parents when the children were 5 years old.
Two of the strengths of the IIS study are the longitudinal biomarker measurements and the detailed data available for illnesses and infant feeding practices during the first year of life. Of the 482 IIS participants, 430 have childhood respiratory health data between the ages 2 and 9 years. Similar to CRS, our main measure of asthma is derived from the questionnaires and is defined as a physician diagnosis of asthma with episodes or attacks of asthma and/or wheeze during the previous year. Childhood asthma is present for 18% (n=77) of the IIS participants.
Phenotype data for each IIS visit, numbers correspond to participants with data:
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