"Allergic disease is a chronic immune-mediated inflammatory disease with an enormous impact on health and well being and a high economic burden in Europe. The increasing incidence in the last decades is well documented and parallels the environmental changes of Industrialized countries. Although there appears to be a link between environmental factors and the high prevalence of allergic disease, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. However, the environment may influence susceptibility to allergic disease through inherited epigenetic modifications of DNA. Environmental exposures such as diet, drugs, toxins and social environment seem to influence the risk of developing allergy in children. These exposures have been linked to methylation and acetylation of specific immune-related genes. Using a mouse model of allergic asthma, we will investigate epigenetic changes in lung and immune cells to determine whether known epigenetic modifiers influence the susceptibility of allergic asthma in the offspring. Moreover, we will attempt to determine whether the effect occurs pre- or post-natally and will test the effects of epigenetic modifiers on gender and in mouse strains varying in their predisposition to Th2 immunity. The results from these experiments are expected to lead to a new understanding of the interaction between the environment, epigenetic changes and susceptibility to allergic disease. These results may have significant clinical implications on environmental exposure during pregnancy and ultimately may identify strategies to prevent allergic disease in high risk children."
Field of science
- /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/pneumology/asthma
- /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/allergology
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