Inflammation/allergy working group


Professor Göran Pershagen

Professor in Environmental Hygiene. He is active at the Institute of Environmental Medicine.


+46-8-524 874 60





Institutet för Miljömedicin (IMM)

Visiting address

Nobels väg 13, Solna

Mailing address

Karolinska Institutet, IMM, Box 210, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden


LifeGene Inflammation/allergy Working Group

The scope of the working group on inflammation/allergy includes diseases where inflammatory processes play an important role, such as allergy, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. Inflammation is also a key factor in other diseases, for example in several types of cardiovascular diseases and musculoskeletal diseases, but these are handled by other working groups in LifeGene.


One challenge in LifeGene will be "cross-disease" studies.  Where does inflammation/susceptibility start?  There are potential pathways from one disease to another.  We should try to find common genetic pathways and identify common genetic variances.  Gene-environment interactions will also be very important to address within LifeGene as a whole and the Inflammation/allergy working group in particular.


Detailed phenotypic information is crucial in LifeGene.  Questionnaire based methods are available for the assessment of symptoms and diseases related to asthma and allergy in children.  However, this needs to be supplemented with determination of IgE in serum to disentangle conditions related to sensitization.  Registry data are available on rheumatoid arthritis and some other autoimmune conditions.  Making use of e-epidemiology will enable collection of extensive information more often, such as on diet.  It is also important to collect event-specific information in connection with, e.g. infections.  Event-driven questions should be linked to sampling of biological specimens.  Blood samples should be obtained from all participants.


The working group is composed of researchers from Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University in Sweden, Harvard Medical School (US), Imperial College (UK), and the University of New South Wales (Australia).  Several of the group members are also heavily involved in the working group on physical activity and dietary assessment, as well as that on pregnancy and the born-into-chohort.


Maternal effects on the risk of disease in the offspring have been studied only to a limited extent. The intrauterine environment is crucial for development of childhood disease and the influence also continues into adulthood.  A strong focus in LifeGene should be the acquisition of information on parents of children who are born into the cohort.


The group's main discussion has involved the acquisition of phenotype information.  Its next aim is to continue working towards finalized protocols integrated with the pregnancy and born-into-cohort working group.


















Göran Pershagen

Professor Göran Pershagen

Page updated by: LifeGene 2009-01-12
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