Document Detail

Ethnicity, infection and sudden infant death syndrome.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15325398     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Epidemiological studies found the incidence of SIDS among Indigenous groups such as Aboriginal Australians, New Zealand Maoris and Native Americans were significantly higher than those for non-Indigenous groups within the same countries. Among other groups such as Asian families in Britain, the incidence of SIDS has been lower than among groups of European origin. Cultural and childrearing practices as well as socio-economic factors have been proposed to explain the greater risk of SIDS among Indigenous peoples; however, there are no definitive data to account for the differences observed. We addressed the differences among ethnic groups in relation to susceptibility to infection because there is evidence from studies of populations of European origin that infectious agents, particularly toxigenic bacteria might trigger the events leading to SIDS. The risk factors for SIDS parallel those for susceptibility to infections in infants, particularly respiratory tract infections which are also major health problems among Indigenous groups. Many of the risk factors identified in epidemiological studies of SIDS could affect three stages in the infectious process: (1) frequency or density of colonisation by the toxigenic species implicated in SIDS; (2) induction of temperature-sensitive toxins; (3) modulation of the inflammatory responses to infection or toxins. In this review we compare genetic, developmental and environmental risk factors for SIDS in ethnic groups with different incidences of SIDS: low (Asians in Britain); moderate (European/Caucasian); high (Aboriginal Australian). Our findings indicate: (1) the major difference was high levels of exposure to cigarette smoke among infants in the high risk groups; (2) cigarette smoke significantly reduced the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 responses which control pro-inflammatory responses implicated in SIDS; (3) the most significant effect of cigarette smoke on reduction of IL-10 responses was observed for donors with a single nucleotide polymorphism for the IL-10 gene that is predominant among both Asian and Aboriginal populations. If genetic makeup were a major factor for susceptibility to SIDS, the incidence of these deaths should be similar for both populations. They are, however, significantly different and most likely reflect differences in maternal smoking which could affect frequency and density of colonisation of infants by potentially pathogenic bacteria and induction and control of inflammatory responses.
C Caroline Blackwell; Sophia M Moscovis; Ann E Gordon; Osama M Al Madani; Sharron T Hall; Maree Gleeson; Rodney J Scott; June Roberts-Thomson; Donald M Weir; Anthony Busuttil
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  FEMS immunology and medical microbiology     Volume:  42     ISSN:  0928-8244     ISO Abbreviation:  FEMS Immunol. Med. Microbiol.     Publication Date:  2004 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-08-24     Completed Date:  2004-10-28     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9315554     Medline TA:  FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  53-65     Citation Subset:  IM    
Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health, David Maddison Building, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Newcastle, and Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle, NSW 2300, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Continental Population Groups*
Infection / complications*,  immunology
Risk Factors
Sudden Infant Death / epidemiology*,  etiology,  genetics

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