Mutations in antibodies are associated with a heightened risk of allergic diseases such as eczema in kids, revealed an analysis of a birth cohort containing 51 newborns followed from infancy through the first three years of life.
The results offer a detailed look at how environmental variables shape the development of B cells in children, addressing a longstanding question in the field of allergy research.
Human B cell populations (producers of the body's protective antibodies) contain a diverse repertoire of B cell receptors (BCRs), which undergo a maturation process known as somatic hypermutation (SHM) during continued exposure to molecules that set off the immune system, or antigens.
Interestingly, children growing up in households with cleaning products containing the chemicals triclosan and triclocarban had higher SHM frequencies in IgE, IgD and IgG antibodies. Nielsen et al. say that additional studies with larger patient groups should be conducted to confirm their findings and discern other potential influences on B cell development.