Response to environmental microbes depends upon asthma subtype

Published Online: February 3, 2016

Asthma is a complex airway disease that includes allergic and non-allergic subtypes. In an article recently published in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI), Dannemiller and  colleagues hypothesized that microbial exposures are associated with asthma severity, and that these associations may differ by asthma subtype.

This study included a total of 196 children from a prospective asthma severity study, evenly divided among those with and without atopy. The researchers quantitatively characterized house dust bacterial and fungal communities using DNA sequence-based approaches.

Asthma severity was associated with microbial exposures, and the observed response was different in the atopic and non-atopic children. In atopic children, asthma severity depended on the types of fungi that were present, including stronger associations with allergenic fungi. In non-atopic children, asthma severity was associated with total fungal concentration in the house dust, independent of the type of fungi present. These results support the notion that two subtypes of asthma, allergic and nonallergic are affected differently by environmental microbial exposures, thus environmental control measures may differ based on asthma subtype.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

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