Birth by C-Section, Early Antibiotic Use Put Kids at Risk for Allergic Esophagitis
Baltimore, MD - Children delivered by cesarean section and those given antibiotics during early infancy appear more prone to developing allergic inflammation of the esophagus according to results of a study by investigators from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and Harvard Medical School.
The findings, published online May 2 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, reveal that early antibiotic treatment and C-section delivery may somehow precipitate disease development by altering a child’s microbiota — the trillions of bacteria and other organisms residing in human intestines that regulate digestive health and immunity.
Eosinophilic esophagitis, or EoE, is an emerging allergic disease, the causes of which remain unclear. While still relatively rare, EoE appears to be on the rise in both children and adults, research shows. The condition is marked by irritation, inflammation and constriction of the esophagus and by proliferation of eosinophils, or immune cells that multiply during allergic reactions. Because EoE’s cardinal symptoms — heartburn, swallowing difficulties and persistent burping — mimic garden-variety gastritis, biopsy of the esophagus remains the only definitive way to distinguish between the two disorders.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the early development and composition of our gut bacteria can influence immunity for life,” says study lead investigator Corinne Keet, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatric allergist at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. “Now, our findings suggest that delivery via C-section and early treatment with antibiotics also play an important role in this serious allergic disease.” Continue>
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