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Valkonen, M.; Taubel, M.; Pekkanen, J.; Tischer, C.; Rintala, H.; Zock, J. -P.; Casas, L.; Probst-Hensch, N.; Forsberg, B.; Holm, M.; Janson, C.; Pin, I.; Gislason, T.; Jarvis, D.; Heinrich, J.; Hyvarinen, A. (2018): Microbial characteristics in homes of asthmatic and non‐asthmatic adults in the ECRHS cohort. In: Indoor Air, Vol. 28, No. 1: pp. 16-27
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Abstract

Microbial exposures in homes of asthmatic adults have been rarely investigated;specificities and implications for respiratory health are not well understood. The objectives of this study were to investigate associations of microbial levels with asthma status, asthma symptoms, bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), and atopy. Mattress dust samples of 199 asthmatics and 198 control subjects from 7 European countries participating in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey II study were analyzed for fungal and bacterial cell wall components and individual taxa. We observed trends for protective associations of higher levels of mostly bacterial markers. Increased levels of muramic acid, a cell wall component predominant in Gram-positive bacteria, tended to be inversely associated with asthma (OR's for different quartiles: II 0.71 [0.39-1.30], III 0.44 [0.23-0.82], and IV 0.60 [0.31-1.18] P for trend .07) and with asthma score (P for trend .06) and with atopy (P for trend .02). These associations were more pronounced in northern Europe. This study among adults across Europe supports a potential protective effect of Gram-positive bacteria in mattress dust and points out that this may be more pronounced in areas where microbial exposure levels are generally lower.