Tischer C, Casas L, Wouters IM, Doekes G, Garcia-Esteban R, Gehring U, Hyvarinen A, Oldenwening M, Kerkhof M, Sunyer J, Standl M, Thiering E, Torrent M, Heinrich J, HITEA study Group. Early exposure to bio-contaminants and asthma up to 10 years of age: results of the HITEA study. Eur Respir J. 2015 Feb;45(2):328-37. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00060214

Inverse associations have been found between exposure to bio-contaminants and asthma and allergies. The aim of this study was to prospectively assess whether early exposure to bio-contaminants in dust is associated with asthma and allergy later in childhood among children from (sub)-urban areas. In subsets of three European birth cohorts (PIAMA: n=553; INMA: n=481; and LISAplus: n=395), endotoxin, (1,3,)-β-d-glucan and extracellular polysaccharide were measured in dust from living rooms shortly after birth. Current asthma at 6 years and 10 years of age and ever asthma up to 10 years of age were assessed by parental questionnaires. Specific IgE levels at 8 years (PIAMA) and 10 years (LISAplus) were available. Adjusted, cohort-specific logistic regression analyses were performed. Higher endotoxin concentrations were positively associated with current asthma at 6 years of age in PIAMA (adjusted OR 1.96, 95% CI 1.07-3.58), but were inversely related with ever asthma up to 10 years of age in INMA (adjusted OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.16-0.94). No associations with asthma were found for LISAplus. No associations were observed with atopic sensitisation in all cohorts. All associations with (1,3)-β-d-glucan and extracellular polysaccharide were statistically nonsignificant. The suggested immunological mechanisms of early exposure to bio-contaminants with regards to asthma and allergy might be different for children growing up in (sub)-urban environments.

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