To understand better the link between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate over geological time, records of past CO2 are reconstructed from geochemical proxies. Although these records have provided us with a broad picture of CO2 variation throughout the Phanerozoic eon (the past 544 Myr), inconsistencies and gaps remain that still need to be resolved. Here I present a continuous 300-Myr record of stomatal abundance from fossil leaves of four genera of plants that are closely related to the present-day Ginkgo tree. Using the known relationship between leaf stomatal abundance and growing season CO2 concentrations, I reconstruct past atmospheric CO2 concentrations. For the past 300 Myr, only two intervals of low CO2 (2,000 p.p.m.v.) concentrations. These results are consistent with some reconstructions of past CO2 (refs 1, 2) and palaeotemperature records, but suggest that CO2 reconstructions based on carbon isotope proxies may be compromised by episodic outbursts of isotopically light methane. These results support the role of water vapour, methane and CO2 in greenhouse climate warming over the past 300 Myr.
Comment In: Nature. 2001 May 17;411(6835):247-811357108
Recent observations and model simulations have highlighted the sensitivity of the forest-tundra ecotone to climatic forcing. In contrast, paleoecological studies have not provided evidence of tree-line fluctuations in response to Holocene climatic changes in Alaska, suggesting that the forest-tundra boundary in certain areas may be relatively stable at multicentennial to millennial time scales. We conducted a multiproxy study of sediment cores from an Alaskan lake near the altitudinal limits of key boreal-forest species. Paleoecological data were compared with independent climatic reconstructions to assess ecosystem responses of the forest tundra boundary to Little Ice Age (LIA) climatic fluctuations. Pollen, diatom, charcoal, macrofossil, and magnetic analyses provide the first continuous record of vegetation fire-climate interactions at decadal to centennial time scales during the past 700 years from southern Alaska. Boreal-forest diebacks characterized by declines of Picea mariana, P. glauca, and tree Betula occurred during the LIA (AD 1500-1800), whereas shrubs (Alnus viridis, Betula glandulosa/nana) and herbaceous taxa (Epilobium, Aconitum) expanded. Marked increases in charcoal abundance and changes in magnetic properties suggest increases in fire importance and soil erosion during the same period. In addition, the conspicuous reduction or disappearance of certain aquatic (e.g., Isoetes, Nuphar, Pediastrum) and wetland (Sphagnum) plants and major shifts in diatom assemblages suggest pronounced lake-level fluctuations and rapid ecosystem reorganization in response to LIA climatic deterioration. Our results imply that temperature shifts of 1-2 degrees C, when accompanied by major changes in moisture balance, can greatly alter high-altitudinal terrestrial, wetland, and aquatic ecosystems, including conversion between boreal-forest tree line and tundra. The climatic and ecosystem variations in our study area appear to be coherent with changes in solar irradiance, suggesting that changes in solar activity contributed to the environmental instability of the past 700 years.
The pine-dominated forests of west-central Mexico are internationally recognized for their high biodiversity, and some areas are protected through various conservation measures including prohibition of human activity. In this region, however, there is evidence for human settlement dating back to ca. AD 1200. It is therefore unclear whether the present forest composition and structure are part of a successional stage following use by indigenous human populations during the past, or due to natural processes, such as climate. We present a study reconstructing the vegetation dynamics of pine-dominated forest over the past 4200 years using paleoecological techniques. Results from fossil pollen and charcoal indicate that, in this region, pine-dominated forests are the native vegetation type and not anthropogenically derived secondary succession. The predominant driving mechanism for the expansion of pine-dominated forest appears to be intervals of aridity and naturally induced burning. A close association is noted between pine abundance and longer-term climatic trends, including intervals of aridity between ca. 4200 and 2500, 1200 and 850, and 500 and 200 cal yr BP and shorter-term trends. Evident periodicity occurs in pine and Poaceae abundance every 80 years. These short-term quasi-periodic oscillations have been recorded in a number of lake and ocean sediments in Mexico and are thought to be linked to solar forcing resulting in drought cycles that occur at approximately the same time intervals.
High morbidity rate of atopic diseases among children, including high importance of grass pollen as a sensitizing agent, determine the relevance ofstudies on diagnostic examination systems for appointment of adequate therapy. The research of the most relevant allergens for patients to excludeof duplicating and uninformative tests became urgent after development of a new type of diagnostic tests that does not require expensive equipment. The objective of this research was to evaluate the results of in vitro- and in vivo-diagnostic examinations of children with various forms of atopic disease caused by pollen of meadow grasses, and to choose the most significant prognostic parameters for the diagnosis.
277 children aged 4-16 years with various forms of atopic disease were included in the study. There were performed skin prick tests and determination of IgE-antibodies levels to allergen extracts of cocksfoot (g3), meadow fescue (g4), timothy grass (g6).
In the studied group of patients 32-50% of children have antibodies to grass allergens. There was a close correlation of antibody response on the investigated allergens, quantitative coincidence of IgE-antibodies to g3 andg4 allergens levels. IgE (g6) concentration was close to the IgE(g3) and IgE(g4) levels (85.0 ± 21.6%). Analysis of the skin tests results showed that 44% of patients have a positive response to grass allergens, and in vivo-tests results coincide with serologicaltests results, mostly in a qualitative sense. The most significant relationship was noted between in vivo and in vitro-tests in the results of testing the response to meadow fescue pollen.
Based on these data IgE concentration index to meadow fescue allergens can be used as a prognostic marker to determine the sensitization of patients with different nosology forms of allergy and can help to improve allergic diagnostics.
Cytogenetic investigation of plant cells and somatic cells of children from Dnepropetrovsk shown and increase of the frequency of chromosome aberrations and gene mutations in contaminated regions that testified the increased mutagenic background of urban environment.
A comparison was made between the amount of airborne pollen collected by Burkard airsampler and the allergenic activity of particles trapped on glass fibre filters in an Accu-Vol high-volume airsampler. The comparison was made throughout the pollen seasons 1986 to 1989. Both airsamplers were operated 24 h a day. They were placed less than 5 m apart, and estimation of the pollen amount was made on a day-to-day basis during the pollen seasons, and on a weekly basis outside the seasons. The occurrence of the 3 clinically most important allergenic types of pollen, birch, grass, and mugwort, was analysed, and close correlations between the 2 sampling techniques were found (rs 0.5-0.8, p
Since Agaricus blazei Murill (AbM) extract reduced specific IgE and ameliorated a skewed Th1/Th2 balance in a mouse allergy model, it was tested in blood donors with self-reported, IgE-positive, birch pollen allergy and/or asthma. Sixty recruited donors were randomized in a placebo-controlled, double-blinded study with pre-seasonal, 7-week, oral supplementation with the AbM-based extract AndosanTM. Before and after the pollen season, questionnaires were answered for allergic rhino-conjunctivitis, asthma, and medication; serum IgE was measured, and Bet v 1-induced basophil activation was determined by CD63 expression. The reported general allergy and asthma symptoms and medication were significantly reduced in the AbM compared to the placebo group during pollen season. During the season, there was significant reduction in specific IgE anti-Bet v 1 and anti-t3 (birch pollen extract) levels in the AbM compared with the placebo group. While the maximal allergen concentrations needed for eliciting basophil activation before the season, changed significantly in the placebo group to lower concentrations (i.e., enhanced sensitization) after the season, these concentrations remained similar in the AndosanTM AbM extract group. Hence, the prophylactic effect of oral supplementation before the season with the AbM-based AndosanTM extract on aeroallergen-induced allergy was associated with reduced specific IgE levels during the season and basophils becoming less sensitive to allergen activation.
Institut for Folkesundhedsvidenskab, Afdeling for Miljø og Sundhed, Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet, Københavns Universitet, Øster Farimagsgade 5, DK-1014 København K, Denmark. firstname.lastname@example.org
Air quality, health and climate change are closely connected. Ozone depends on temperature and the greenhouse gas methane from cattle and biomass. Pollen presence depends on temperature and CO2. The effect of climate change on particulate air pollution is complex, but the likely net effect is greater health risks. Reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions by reduced livestock production and use of combustion for energy production, transport and heating will also improve air quality. Energy savings in buildings and use of CO2 neutral fuels should not deteriorate indoor and outdoor air quality.
Allergen cross-reactions among three strongly sensitizing Euphorbiaceae species, i.e., the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), castor bean (Ricinus communis), and the Mediterranean weed Mercurialis annua were studied in Finnish patients (n = 25) allergic to natural rubber latex (NRL), but with no known exposure to castor bean or M. annua, and French patients allergic to castor bean (n = 26) or to M. annua (n = 9), but not to NRL. In immunoglobulin E (IgE)-immunoblotting, 28% of NRL-allergic patient sera recognized castor bean seed and 48% reacted to castor bean pollen proteins. Likewise, 35% of the NRL-allergic patient sera bound to M. annua pollen allergens. Nineteen percent of castor bean-allergic patients showed IgE to NRL and 8% to M. annua proteins. Sera from patients allergic to M. annua reacted in 44% to NRL, in 56% to castor bean seed, and in 78% to castor bean pollen proteins. In immunoblotting, castor bean seed extract inhibited the binding of NRL-reactive IgE to 20 kDa, 30 kDa of NRL, and 55 kDa of proteins; NRL extract, in turn, inhibited the binding of castor bean-reactive IgE to 14, 21-22, 29, and 32-34 kDa of castor bean proteins. In ELISA inhibition, NRL extract inhibited 33% of the binding of M. annua--reactive IgE of pooled sera to M. annua pollen. In conclusion, allergen cross-reactivity in vitro was observed among three botanically related Euphorbiaceae members, H. brasiliensis, R. communis, and M. annua, but the molecular specificity of the observed cross-reactions as well as their clinical significance remains to be elucidated. Allergen cross-reactivity should be taken into account in diagnostic work.
Two allergen-free wards (AFW) fitted out with Academician I. V. Petryanov's filters have been in operation in the Department of General Allergy of the Institute of Immunology, USSR Ministry of Health, since 1981. A high AFW efficacy was shown during treatment without drugs of pollinosis patients with grave manifestations in the pollination season and patients with atopic bronchial asthma outside the season of plant pollination. Since 1981 treatment in AFW has been provided to 232 patients, of them in 104 with a good effect in the season of plant pollination.