Indoor fungi may protect against allergy

Environmental health scientists at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have shown, for the first time, that early-life exposure to certain indoor fungal molecules may help build stronger immune systems and protect against future allergies by stimulating the body’s production of infection- and allergy-fighting substances.

The UC-led team analysed the effects of microbial exposures to both fungal and bacterial molecules in 574 infants who had been identified as being at greater risk for future allergies because of having at least one parent with a known allergy.

Samples were taken from each infant’s home environment and analysed for indoor allergens. Information was also gathered about the presence in the home of any visible mould and water damage, and environmental and food allergy development was monitored using annual skin prick tests.

It was found that infants who were exposed to high levels of indoor fungal components were nearly three times less likely to wheeze compared with infants exposed to low levels.

Read more

First Published July 2007

Top of page