Document Type


Publication Date

January 2007


This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author's final version prior to publication in the Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition, 92(1): F68-F73, January 2007. The published version is available at; copyright is retained by BMJ Publishing Group.


Atopic diseases are complex entities influenced by an array of risk factors including genetic predisposition, environmental allergens, antenatal exposures, infections and psychosocial factors. One proposed mechanism by which these risk factors contribute to the development of atopic disease is through alterations in the production of T helper type 1 (Th1) and type 2 (Th2) cytokines. The objectives of this review are to discuss antenatal exposures that are associated with pediatric atopic diseases, to discuss the influence of the intrauterine environment on neonatal immune responses, to provide an overview of the Th1 and Th2 pathways and how they relate to atopic disease, and to summarize our current understanding of the association between cytokine responses in cord blood and the development of atopic disease in early childhood.