The exposome approach in allergies and lung diseases: Is it time to define a preconception exposome?

Juan Pablo López-Cervantes*, Marianne Lønnebotn, Nils Oskar Jogi, Lucia Calciano, Ingrid Nordeide Kuiper, Matthew G. Darby, Shyamali C. Dharmage, Francisco Gómez-Real, Barbara Hammer, Randi Jacobsen Bertelsen, Ane Johannessen, Anne Mette Lund Würtz, Toril Mørkve Knudsen, Jennifer Koplin, Kathrine Pape, Svein Magne Skulstad, Signe Timm, Gro Tjalvin, Susanne Krauss-Etschmann, Simone AccordiniVivi Schlünssen, Jorunn Kirkeleit, Cecilie Svanes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Emerging research suggests environmental exposures before conception may adversely affect allergies and lung diseases in future generations. Most studies are limited as they have focused on single exposures, not considering that these diseases have a multifactorial origin in which environmental and lifestyle factors are likely to interact. Traditional exposure assessment methods fail to capture the interactions among environmental exposures and their impact on fundamental biological processes, as well as individual and temporal factors. A valid estimation of exposure preconception is difficult since the human reproductive cycle spans decades and the access to germ cells is limited. The exposome is defined as the cumulative measure of external exposures on an organism (external exposome), and the associated biological responses (endogenous exposome) throughout the lifespan, from conception and onwards. An exposome approach implies a targeted or agnostic analysis of the concurrent and temporal multiple exposures, and may, together with recent technological advances, improve the assessment of the environmental contributors to health and disease. This review describes the current knowledge on preconception environmental exposures as related to respiratory health outcomes in offspring. We discuss the usefulness and feasibility of using an exposome approach in this research, advocating for the preconception exposure window to become included in the exposome concept.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12684
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number23
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 1. Dec 2021


  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Epigenetics
  • Exposome
  • Intergenerational
  • Lung function
  • Lung health
  • Preconception
  • Transgenerational


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