The University of Arizona

Infant Immune Study

As childhood asthma continues to grow more common, doctors are ever more convinced that the immune system plays a major role in who develops the disease and how severe it becomes. With this study, researchers hope to better explain the relationship between a pregnant woman's allergy profile, her infant's immune characteristics, and the infant's later risk of developing asthma. 

The study will include 400 women in the third trimester of pregnancy, half of whom have nasal allergies, such as hay fever. Researchers will then measure the immune function of their infants at birth and at ages 1, 3, and 5. The fathers' and mothers' immune systems will be tested as well. 

Researchers hope this study will bring them ever closer to curing asthma by answering these three questions:

  • Are the infants of allergic mothers more likely to develop asthma, and by what mechanism?

  • Do the immune systems of infants predisposed to allergies respond differently to viral lung infections than those of infants not predisposed to allergies?

  • Is there a relationship between an infant's predisposition to allergies at birth, the infant's immune response to a viral lung infection, and the infant's risk of asthma?

Primary focus: Asthma