Association of alcohol consumption with allergic disease and asthma: a multi-centre Mendelian randomization analysis

Tea Skaaby*, Tuomas O. Kilpeläinen, Amy E. Taylor, Yuvaraj Mahendran, Andrew Wong, Tarunveer S. Ahluwalia, Lavinia Paternoster, Stella Trompet, David J. Stott, Claudia Flexeder, Ang Zhou, Guy Brusselle, Ayesha Sajjad, Lies Lahousse, Henning Tiemeier, Christian Theil Have, Betina H. Thuesen, Line Lund Kårhus, Line Tang Møllehave, Katja Biering Leth-MøllerDaniel Mønsted Shabanzadeh, Arturo Gonzalez-Quintela, Chris Power, Elina Hyppönen, Diana Kuh, Rebecca Hardy, Thomas Meitinger, J. Wouter Jukema, Uwe Völker, Matthias Nauck, Henry Völzke, Nele Friedrich, Tobias N. Bonten, Raymond Noordam, Dennis O. Mook-Kanamori, Janne S. Tolstrup, Christian Taube, Annette Peters, Harald Grallert, Konstantin Strauch, Holger Schulz, Niels Grarup, Torben Hansen, Oluf Pedersen, Stephen Burgess, Marcus R. Munafò, Allan Linneberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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AIMS: To use the rs1229984 variant associated with alcohol consumption as an instrument for alcohol consumption to test the causality of the association of alcohol consumption with hay fever, asthma, allergic sensitization, and serum total IgE.

DESIGN: Observational and Mendelian randomization analyses using genetic variants as unbiased markers of exposure to estimate causal effects, subject to certain assumptions.

SETTING: Europe.

PARTICIPANTS: We included a total of 466434 persons aged 15-82 years from 17 population-based studies conducted from 1997-2015.

MEASUREMENTS: The rs1229984 (ADH1B) was genotyped, alcohol consumption, hay fever and asthma were self-reported. Specific and total IgE were measured from serum samples.

FINDINGS: Observational analyses showed that ever-drinking vs. non-drinking, but not amount of alcohol intake, was positively associated with hay fever and inversely associated with asthma but not with allergic sensitization, or serum total IgE. However, Mendelian randomization analyses did not suggest that the observational associations are causal. The causal odds ratio (OR) per genetically assessed unit of alcohol/week was an OR=0.91 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.81, 1.02; p=0.101) for hay fever, an OR=0.90 (95% CI: 0.79, 1.02; p=0.095) for asthma, an OR=0.97 (95% CI: 0.80, 1.17; p=0.763) for allergic sensitization, and a 4.7% change (95% CI: -5.5%, 14.9%; p=0.366) for total IgE.

CONCLUSIONS: Ever-drinking vs. not drinking was in observational analyses positively associated with hay fever, and negatively associated with asthma. However, the Mendelian randomization results were not consistent with these associations being causal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-225
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Early online date30 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Tobacco and Alcohol
  • Physical and Mental Health


  • Alcohol
  • allergic disease
  • allergic sensitization
  • asthma
  • hay fever
  • mendelian randomization


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