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  1. Ismail IH, Boyle RJ, Mah LJ, Licciardi PV, Tang ML
    Pediatr Allergy Immunol, 2014 Nov;25(7):674-84.
    PMID: 25376403 DOI: 10.1111/pai.12303
    Regulatory T cells (Treg) play an essential role in early immune programming and shaping the immune response towards a pro-allergic or tolerant state. We evaluated cord blood Treg and cytokine responses to microbial and non-microbial stimuli in infants at high risk of allergic disease and their associations with development of allergic disease in the first year.
  2. Johar A, Lim DL, Arif SA, Hawarden D, Toit GD, Weinberg EG, et al.
    Pediatr Allergy Immunol, 2005 Mar;16(2):165-70.
    PMID: 15787875
    Spina bifida children have a high prevalence of latex allergy in studies reported from Europe and the USA. This study investigated the prevalence of latex allergy in a cohort of 24 spina bifida children at the Red Cross Children's Hospital from Cape Town, South Africa. The children were investigated using a detailed questionnaire, skin prick tests (ALK-Abello), ImmunoCap RASTs, Western blotting and ELISA, using the purified latex proteins Hev b1 and Hev b3 and whole latex preparation. A low overall prevalence of latex sensitization of 16.7% was found in the children. Children who were sensitive reacted to water insoluble to Hev b1 and Hev b3 proteins. The low prevalence of latex sensitization in the South African children may not be entirely explained by stringent latex avoidance. The children were from a low socioeconomic social status and 'hygiene' and other factors should be considered.
  3. Cai GH, Hashim JH, Hashim Z, Ali F, Bloom E, Larsson L, et al.
    Pediatr Allergy Immunol, 2011 May;22(3):290-7.
    PMID: 21457336 DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2010.01127.x
    While there is a large variation of prevalence of asthma symptoms worldwide, what we do know is that it is on the rise in developing countries. However, there are few studies on allergens, moulds and mycotoxin exposure in schools in tropical countries. The aims were to measure selected fungal DNA, furry pet allergens and mycotoxins in dust samples from schools in Malaysia and to study associations with pupils' respiratory health effects. Eight secondary schools and 32 classrooms in Johor Bahru, Malaysia were randomly selected. A questionnaire with standardized questions was used for health assessment in 15 randomly selected pupils from each class. The school buildings were inspected and both indoor and outdoor climate were measured. Dust samples were collected by cotton swabs and Petri dishes for fungal DNA, mycotoxins and allergens analysis. The participation rate was 96% (462/480 invited pupils), with a mean age of 14 yr (range 14-16). The pupils mostly reported daytime breathlessness (41%), parental asthma or allergy (22%), pollen or pet allergy (21%) and doctor-diagnosed asthma (13%) but rarely reported night-time breathlessness (7%), asthma in the last 12 months (3%), medication for asthma (4%) or smoking (5%). The inspection showed that no school had any mechanical ventilation system, but all classrooms had openable windows that were kept open during lectures. The mean building age was 16 yr (range 3-40) and the mean indoor and outdoor CO(2) levels were 492 ppm and 408 ppm, respectively. The mean values of indoor and outdoor temperature and relative humidity were the same, 29°C and 70% respectively. In cotton swab dust samples, the Geometric Mean (GM) value for total fungal DNA and Aspergillus/Penicillium (Asp/Pen) DNA in swab samples (Cell Equivalents (CE)/m(2)) was 5.7*10(8) and 0.5*10(8), respectively. The arithmetic mean (CE/m(2)) for Aspergillus versicolor DNA was 8780, Stachybotrys chartarum DNA was 26 and Streptomyces DNA was 893. The arithmetic means (pg/m(2)) for the mycotoxins sterigmatocystin and verrucarol were 2547 and 17, respectively. In Petri dish dust samples, the GM value for total fungal DNA and Asp/Pen DNA (CE/m(2) per day) was 9.2*10(6) and 1.6*10(6), respectively. The arithmetic mean (CE/m(2) per day) for A. versicolor DNA was 1478, S. chartarum DNA was 105 and Streptomyces DNA was 1271, respectively. The GM value for cat (Fel d1) allergen was 5.9 ng/m(2) per day. There were positive associations between A. versicolor DNA, wheeze and daytime breathlessness and between Streptomyces DNA and doctor-diagnosed asthma. However, the associations were inverse between S. chartarum DNA and daytime breathlessness and between verrucarol and daytime breathlessness. In conclusion, fungal DNA and cat allergen contamination were common in schools from Malaysia and there was a high prevalence of respiratory symptoms among pupils. Moreover, there were associations between levels of some fungal DNA and reported respiratory health in the pupils.
  4. Ismail IH, Boyle RJ, Licciardi PV, Oppedisano F, Lahtinen S, Robins-Browne RM, et al.
    Pediatr Allergy Immunol, 2016 12;27(8):838-846.
    PMID: 27590263 DOI: 10.1111/pai.12646
    BACKGROUND: An altered compositional signature and reduced diversity of early gut microbiota are linked to development of allergic disease. We investigated the relationship between dominant Bifidobacterium species during the early post-natal period and subsequent development of allergic disease in the first year of life.

    METHODS: Faecal samples were collected at age 1 week, 1 month and 3 months from 117 infants at high risk of allergic disease. Bifidobacterium species were analysed by quantitative PCR and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism. Infants were examined at 3, 6 and 12 months, and skin prick test was performed at 12 months. Eczema was diagnosed according to the UK Working Party criteria.

    RESULTS: The presence of B. catenulatum at 3 months was associated with a higher risk of developing eczema (ORadj = 4.5; 95% CI: 1.56-13.05, padj = 0.005). Infants colonized with B. breve at 1 week (ORadj = 0.29; 95% CI: 0.09-0.95, padj = 0.04) and 3 months (ORadj = 0.15; 95% CI: 0.05-0.44, padj = 0.00001) had a reduced risk of developing eczema. Furthermore, the presence of B. breve at 3 months was associated with a lower risk of atopic sensitization at 12 months (ORadj = 0.38; 95% CI: 0.15-0.98, padj = 0.05). B. breve colonization patterns were influenced by maternal allergic status, household pets and number of siblings.

    CONCLUSIONS: Temporal variations in Bifidobacterium colonization patterns early in life are associated with later development of eczema and/or atopic sensitization in infants at high risk of allergic disease. Modulation of the early microbiota may provide a means to prevent eczema in high-risk infants.

  5. Tan HT, Ellis JA, Koplin JJ, Martino D, Dang TD, Suaini N, et al.
    Pediatr Allergy Immunol, 2014 Oct;25(6):608-10.
    PMID: 24912553 DOI: 10.1111/pai.12245
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