In animals substantial prevention of allergy can be achieved by inhalation of microbial products. It is unknown whether such findings can be brought forward to humans, but findings in farmers' children raised in environments rich in microbial matter suggest that these children constitute an ideal 'natural' model to study these relations in humans. Recent retrospective surveys clearly indicated that exposures must occur in pregnancy and the 1st Year of life to confer significant protection, resulting in very low prevalence's of asthma (0.8% vs. 11.8%), hay fever (0.8% vs. 16.0%) and atop (8.2% vs. 32.9%) as compared to non-exposed children. The project therefore focuses on early life exposures to indoor microbial matter in a prospective study design. A multidisciplinary approach is taken to study immunological and genetic mechanisms determining the strong protective effects, which will allow the development of novel preventive strategies.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts