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House Dust May Protect Against Allergic Disease Early In Life

Date:
May 21, 2007
Source:
American Thoracic Society
Summary:
Endotoxin, a toxic substance made by certain types of bacteria, may reduce the risk of developing the allergic skin condition eczema or wheezing in children if they are exposed to it up to age 3, suggests a new study. The researchers found that certain environmental factors such as having a home older than 30 years, substandard home conditions, carpeting, a musty smell and interior wall leaks were all associated with higher levels of endotoxin, and contrary to popular belief, a reduction in the risk of young children developing certain allergies.

A young girl applying cream to her eczema.
Credit: iStockphoto/Steve Wilson

Endotoxin, a toxic substance made by certain types of bacteria, may reduce the risk of developing the allergic skin condition eczema or wheezing in children if they are exposed to it up to age 3, suggests a new study.

Endotoxin is a part of the cell wall of gram-negative bacteria, a type of bacteria that often causes disease. Endotoxin is released when the bacteria dies or is damaged. The new study found that the lower the amount of endotoxin in young children's homes, the more likely they were to have wheezing or eczema by age 3. The higher the amount of endotoxin in their homes, the less likely they were to develop either condition by age 3.

"We're trying to find why children exposed to endoxotin have lower levels of disease early in life," says researcher Melisa Celaya, M.A., of the Arizona Respiratory Center in Tucson.

Celaya found that certain environmental factors increased the levels of endotoxin in a home: having a home older than 30 years, substandard home conditions, carpeting, a musty smell and interior wall leaks were all associated with higher levels of endotoxin.

Blood samples were taken from 484 children enrolled in the Infant Immune Study at different ages, up to 5 years of age. "We will be looking at the relationship between endotoxin levels in the home and chemicals (called cytokines) that are produced by certain immune system cells, to see why children exposed to lower levels are developing more allergic symptoms later on," she says. "This study is unusual in that we are following children over a long period, and are looking at both environmental factors and immunological factors, so we can correlate the two."

The researchers also plan to study whether genetic predisposition changes a child's responses to environmental triggers.

This research was presented at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International Conference, on Sunday, May 20. "Predictors of House Dust Endotoxin Levels and Relation with Later Wheeze and Eczema in Early Life"(Session A105; Abstract # 5165; Poster Board # 914)


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Thoracic Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Thoracic Society. "House Dust May Protect Against Allergic Disease Early In Life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070520183538.htm>.
American Thoracic Society. (2007, May 21). House Dust May Protect Against Allergic Disease Early In Life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070520183538.htm
American Thoracic Society. "House Dust May Protect Against Allergic Disease Early In Life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070520183538.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

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