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Forster, Felix ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3670-9244; Ege, Markus Johannes; Gerlich, Jessica; Weinmann, Tobias ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4582-5191; Kreissl, Sylvia; Weinmayr, Gudrun; Genuneit, Jon; Nowak, Dennis ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7871-8686; Mutius, Erika von; Vogelberg, Christian and Radon, Katja ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5271-3972 (2021): Trajectories of asthma and allergy symptoms from childhood to adulthood. In: Allergy, Vol. 77, No. 4: pp. 1192-1203

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Background Phenotypes of asthma and allergic diseases are mainly studied separately for children and adults. To explore the role of adolescence and young adulthood, we investigated symptom trajectories at the transition from childhood into adulthood. Methods Latent class analysis (LCA) was conducted in a population initially recruited for the German arm of Phase II of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood and followed-up three times until their early 30s (N=2267). Indicators included in LCA were 12-month prevalences of symptoms of wheeze, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema. Latent classes were further characterised regarding important traits such as skin prick tests. Logistic regression models were used to investigate associations with environmental determinants such as smoking and occupational exposures. Results Six latent classes were identified: an asymptomatic one as well as three with single and two with co-occurring symptoms. All trajectories essentially established between baseline assessment at around 10 years and the first follow-up at around 17 years. Probabilities for symptoms increased from childhood to adolescence, especially for wheeze-related latent classes, while they remained constant in adulthood. Wheeze-related latent classes were also positively associated with exposures during adolescence (e.g. active smoking). Conclusion Distinct trajectories of asthma and allergy symptoms establish from childhood through adolescence and stabilize during early adulthood. This pattern was most notable in wheeze-related latent classes which also showed the strongest positive associations with environmental exposures in adolescence/young adulthood. Therefore, not only childhood but also adolescence is relevant for disease development and offers considerable potential for prevention and health promotion.

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