Epidemiological data have indicated that some infections are associated with a low risk of allergic diseases, thus supporting the idea (hygiene hypothesis) that the microbial load is an important environmental factor conferring protection against the development of allergies. We set out to test the hygiene hypothesis in a unique epidemiological setting in two socio-economically and culturally markedly different, although genetically related, populations living in geographically adjacent areas. The study cohorts included 266 schoolchildren from the Karelian Republic in Russia and 266 schoolchildren from Finland. The levels of total IgE and allergen-specific IgE for birch, cat and egg albumen were measured. Microbial antibodies were analysed against enteroviruses (coxsackievirus B4), hepatitis A virus, Helicobacter pylori and Toxoplasma gondii. Although total IgE level was higher in Russian Karelian children compared to their Finnish peers, the prevalence of allergen-specific IgE was lower among Russian Karelian children. The prevalence of microbial antibodies was, in turn, significantly more frequent in the Karelian children, reflecting the conspicuous difference in socio-economic background factors. Microbial infections were associated with lower risk of allergic sensitization in Russian Karelian children, enterovirus showing the strongest protective effect in a multivariate model. The present findings support the idea that exposure to certain infections, particularly in childhood, may protect from the development of atopy. Enterovirus infections represent a new candidate to the list of markers of such a protective environment. However, possible causal relationship needs to be confirmed in further studies.
Western lifestyle is associated with high prevalence of allergy, asthma and other chronic inflammatory disorders. To explain this association, we tested the 'biodiversity hypothesis', which posits that reduced contact of children with environmental biodiversity, including environmental microbiota in natural habitats, has adverse consequences on the assembly of human commensal microbiota and its contribution to immune tolerance.
We analysed four study cohorts from Finland and Estonia (n = 1044) comprising children and adolescents aged 0.5-20 years. The prevalence of atopic sensitization was assessed by measuring serum IgE specific to inhalant allergens. We calculated the proportion of five land-use types--forest, agricultural land, built areas, wetlands and water bodies--in the landscape around the homes using the CORINE2006 classification.
The cover of forest and agricultural land within 2-5 km from the home was inversely and significantly associated with atopic sensitization. This relationship was observed for children 6 years of age and older. Land-use pattern explained 20% of the variation in the relative abundance of Proteobacteria on the skin of healthy individuals, supporting the hypothesis of a strong environmental effect on the commensal microbiota.
The amount of green environment (forest and agricultural land) around homes was inversely associated with the risk of atopic sensitization in children. The results indicate that early-life exposure to green environments is especially important. The environmental effect may be mediated via the effect of environmental microbiota on the commensal microbiota influencing immunotolerance.
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Aug 17;107(33):14691-620679230
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 May 22;109(21):8334-922566627
Total serum IgE is regulated by both environmental and genetic factors. Association and linkage studies have suggested a role of CD14-159C>T polymorphism in the regulation of serum total IgE, but the results have been contradictory. It seems that gene-environment interactions are involved in this regulation.
The aim of this study was to examine the possible gene-environment interactions among Toxoplasma gondii, Helicobacter pylori, CD14-159C>T and Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4+896A>G polymorphism on serum total IgE. For this study, we expanded the scope of our earlier comparison of allergic sensitization and microbial load between Finland and Russian Karelia by studying the CD14-159C>T and TLR4+896A>G polymorphism in a cohort of Russian Karelian children.
For this study, CD14-159C>T and TLR4+896A>G polymorphisms were analysed in 264 healthy Russian Karelian children. Serum total IgE levels and H. pylori and T. gondii antibodies were also measured.
We constructed a multiway anova model to analyse the gene-environment interactions among T. gondii seropositivity, H. pylori seropositivity, CD14-159C>T and TLR4+896A>G polymorphisms on serum total IgE. The model showed that there was an interaction between the CD14-159 allele T carrier status and H. pylori antibodies on serum total IgE (P=0.004). No other interactions were found.
Our results further emphasize the role of gene-environment interaction in the regulation of serum total IgE.
To study the associations between timing and diversity of introduction of complementary foods during infancy and atopic sensitization in 5-year-old children.
In the Finnish DIPP (type 1 diabetes prediction and prevention) birth cohort (n = 3781), data on the timing of infant feeding were collected up to the age of 2 years and serum IgE antibodies toward four food and four inhalant allergens measured at the age of 5 years. Logistic regression was used for the analyses.
Median duration of exclusive and total breastfeeding was 1.4 (interquartile range: 0.2-3.5) and 7.0 (4.0-11.0) months, respectively. When all the foods were studied together and adjusted for confounders, short duration of breastfeeding decreased the risk of sensitization to birch allergen; introduction of oats
To investigate whether type 1 diabetes in man is associated with a preferential Th1/Th2 response, and whether autoantibodies to one of the main autoantigens would reflect such a response, we characterized the immunoglobulin isotype profile to the 65-kDa isoform of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65) in siblings to IDDM patients. Samples obtained from affected subjects before and at clinical onset of IDDM, from unaffected individuals at high risk and at low risk and from healthy controls were studied. The immunoglobulin isotype profile in the siblings at low risk reflected a more immature, i.e., IgM and Th2 like, i.e., IgE response compared to the progressors and siblings at high risk, with significantly higher median levels of IgM and IgE. The rank order of anti-GAD65 immunoglobulin isotypes was similar in the siblings before and at clinical onset of IDDM, IgG1 > IgG4 > IgM > IgE > IgA > IgG3 > IgG2, but markedly different in the individuals at low risk, IgG1 > IgM > IgE > IgG4 > IgG3 > IgA > IgG2. Based on these observations, we suggest that progression to clinical onset of IDDM is associated with a maturation and a decrease in the Th2 immune response against GAD65; findings which could have implications for future intervention and prediction strategies.