Molecular epidemiology

Projects at the Unit of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM)

Lung development and respiratory disease from childhood to adulthood

Childhood asthma persisting into adult life is associated with long-term lung function deficits and to an increased susceptibility to non-reversible airflow limitation, the hallmark of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

This project aims to investigate long-term respiratory and allergy outcomes in relation to early life disease, environmental exposure and genetic/epigenetic factors. The aim is also to establish a three-generation cohort with BAMSE parents, participants and their offspring for analyses of trans-generational hereditary and environmental effects.

The BAMSE birth cohort was initiated in 1994-96 and this application includes plans for a new BAMSE follow-up 2017-18 when the participants will be 22-24 years of age (“BAMSE24”). This follow-up will allow for analyses of lung function trajectories up to adult age and identification of key determinants, as well as identification of prognostic factors and biomarkers for disease onset, progress or remission. We will use omics- and environment exposure data for causal inference analyses on lung function, respiratory and allergic disease that will enable analyses from association to causation and clinical implication.

This project will provide knowledge about potential strategies to prevent childhood allergy, asthma from becoming chronic severe diseases in adulthood. In addition, our results may allow for identification of new candidates for drug development.


  • The Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation
  • The Swedish Research Council, Stockholm County Council (ALF)
  • Frimurare Barnhuset
  • Cancer- och Allergifonden
  • Swedish Association For Allergology and Swedish Medical Society

Contact person


Erik Melén

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 875 08
Organizational unit: Environmental epidemiology


Genome-Wide Interaction Analysis of Air Pollution Exposure and Childhood Asthma with Functional Follow-up.
Gref A, Merid S, Gruzieva O, Ballereau S, Becker A, Bellander T, et al
Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2017 05;195(10):1373-1383

Epigenome-Wide Meta-Analysis of Methylation in Children Related to Prenatal NO2 Air Pollution Exposure.
Gruzieva O, Xu C, Breton C, Annesi-Maesano I, Antó J, Auffray C, et al
Environ. Health Perspect. 2017 01;125(1):104-110

Early-Life Exposure to Traffic-related Air Pollution and Lung Function in Adolescence.
Schultz E, Hallberg J, Bellander T, Bergström A, Bottai M, Chiesa F, et al
Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2016 Jan;193(2):171-7

Early life exposure to traffic-related air pollution and lung function in adolescence assessed with impulse oscillometry.
Schultz E, Hallberg J, Gustafsson P, Bottai M, Bellander T, Bergström A, et al
J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 2016 09;138(3):930-932.e5

DNA Methylation in Newborns and Maternal Smoking in Pregnancy: Genome-wide Consortium Meta-analysis.
Joubert B, Felix J, Yousefi P, Bakulski K, Just A, Breton C, et al
Am. J. Hum. Genet. 2016 Apr;98(4):680-96

Relation between circulating CC16 concentrations, lung function, and development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease across the lifespan: a prospective study.
Guerra S, Halonen M, Vasquez M, Spangenberg A, Stern D, Morgan W, et al
Lancet Respir Med 2015 Aug;3(8):613-20

Protein profiles of CCL5, HPGDS, and NPSR1 in plasma reveal association with childhood asthma.
Hamsten C, Häggmark A, Grundström J, Mikus M, Lindskog C, Konradsen J, et al
Allergy 2016 09;71(9):1357-61