Differential Effects of Obesity, Hyperlipidaemia, Dietary Intake and Physical Inactivity on Type I versus Type IV Allergies


Alongside metabolic diseases (esp. obesity), allergic disorders are becoming increasingly prevalent. Since both obesity and allergies are highly impacted by environmental determinants, with this study we assessed the potential link between metabolic implications and two distinct types of allergies.


Using cross-sectional data from the German FoCus cohort, n = 385 allergy cases, either hay fever (=type I allergy, n = 183) or contact allergy (=type IV allergy, n = 202) were compared to age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects (1:1 ratio, in total n = 770) regarding their metabolic phenotype, diet, physical activity, sleep, gut microbial composition, and serum metabolite profile using suitable BMI-adjusted models.


Obesity and metabolic alterations were found significantly more prevalent in subjects with allergies. In fact, this relation was more pronounced in contact allergy than hay fever. Subsequent BMI-adjusted analysis reveals particular importance of co-occurring hyperlipidaemia for both allergy types. For contact allergy, we revealed a strong association to the dietary intake of poly-unsaturated fatty acids, particularly α-linolenic acid, as well as the enrichment of the corresponding metabolic pathway. For hay fever, there were no major associations to the diet but to a lower physical activity level, shorter duration of sleep, and an altered gut microbial composition. Finally, genetic predisposition for hyperlipidaemia was associated to both contact allergy and hay fever.


Reflected by higher allergy prevalence, our findings indicate an impaired immune response in obesity and hyperlipidaemia, which is differentially regulated in type I and type IV allergies by an unfavourable lifestyle constellation and subsequent microbial and metabolic dysfunctions.


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