Bacteria in household dust affect childhood asthma

Recent studies have shown household dust to be a source of highly diverse and abundant bacteria, yet it remains largely unexplored. In a study, published in the April 2010 issue of the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, researchers tested on samples of collected house dust and demonstrated that bacterial populations are greatly impacted by the presence of dogs and cats and whether or not children attend day care.

Dust samples collected from homes of infants, with or without pets and varying day care attendance, showed differences in dust bacteria were linked with asthma development in children supporting the hypothesis that the types of microorganisms present in homes in early life may play key roles in the development of childhood asthma.

Asthma has risen drastically in the last decade and some are attributing the increase to an altered immune response triggered by exposure to evolving microbial communities. Farms and day care centers are associated with asthma prevention due to high levels of microbial exposure, while actions that reduce bacterial populations in the home may actually increase allergy development.

"These parallels suggest that unidentified differences in exposure to microbial communities in the industrialized world may have fundamentally changed human immune responses, thereby enhancing susceptibility to autoimmune and allergic diseases," say the researchers.

R.M. Maier, M.W. Palmer et al. Environmental Determinants of and Impact on Childhood Asthma by the Bacterial Community in Household Dust. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2010; 76 (8): 2663

Courtesy of Science Daily

First Publushed in April 20100

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