Background While fungal exposures are assumed to provoke wheeze through irritant or allergenic mechanisms, little is known about the differential effects of indoor and outdoor fungi on early-life wheeze. Methods In a Boston prospective birth cohort of 499 at-risk infants, culturable fungi in bedroom air and dust and outdoor air were measured at the age of 2-3 months. Wheeze was determined using bimonthly telephone questionnaires. Odds ratios were estimated for an interquartile increase in fungal natural log-transformed concentrations, adjusting for predictors of wheeze and potential confounders. Results Increased odds of 'any wheeze' (≥1 vs 0 episodes) by age one were positively associated with indoor dust Alternaria [odds ratio (OR) = 1.83; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.07-3.14], Penicillium [OR = 1.18; (0.98-1.43)], and Cladosporium [OR = 1.47; (1.16-1.85)]; indoor air Penicillium [OR = 1.26; (0.92-1.74)]; and outdoor air Cladosporium [OR = 1.68; (1.04-2.72)]. In contrast, indoor dust yeasts were protective [OR = 0.78; (0.66-0.93)]. 'Frequent wheeze' (≥2 vs <2 episodes) by age one was borderline associated with dust yeasts [OR = 0.86; (0.70-1.04)] and indoor air yeasts [OR = 1.53; (0.93-2.53)]. Alternaria concentration was associated with any wheeze for children with maternal mold sensitization [OR = 9.16; (1.37-61.22)], but not for those without maternal mold sensitization [OR = 1.32; (0.79-2.20)]. Conclusions While wheeze rates were higher with exposures to fungal taxa considered to be irritant or allergenic in sensitive subjects, yeasts in the home had a strong protective association with wheeze in infancy. Molecular microbiologic studies may elucidate specific components of innate microbiologic stimulants that lead to contrasting effects on wheeze development.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Nov 2013|