Main content area

Environmental Determinants of and Impact on Childhood Asthma by the Bacterial Community in Household Dust

Maier, Raina M., Palmer, Michael W., Andersen, Gary L., Halonen, Marilyn J., Josephson, Karen C., Maier, Robert S., Martinez, Fernando D., Neilson, Julia W., Stern, Debra A., Vercelli, Donata, Wright, Anne L.
Applied and environmental microbiology 2010 v.76 no.8 pp. 2663-2667
asthma, bacterial communities, cats, child care, childhood, chronic diseases, community structure, dogs, dose response, dust, environmental exposure, households, immunoglobulin E, preschool children
Asthma increased dramatically in the last decades of the 20th century and is representative of chronic diseases that have been linked to altered microbial exposure and immune responses. Here we evaluate the effects of environmental exposures typically associated with asthma protection or risk on the microbial community structure of household dust (dogs, cats, and day care). PCR-denaturing gradient gel analysis (PCR-DGGE) demonstrated that the bacterial community structure in house dust is significantly impacted by the presence of dogs or cats in the home (P = 0.0190 and 0.0029, respectively) and by whether or not children attend day care (P = 0.0037). In addition, significant differences in the dust bacterial community were associated with asthma outcomes in young children, including wheezing (P = 0.0103) and specific IgE (P = 0.0184). Our findings suggest that specific bacterial populations within the community are associated with either risk or protection from asthma.