Integrating farm and air pollution studies in search for immunoregulatory mechanisms operating in protective and high-risk environments
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CitationMartikainen, MV. Rönkkö, TJ. Schaub, B. Täubel, M. Gu, C. Wong, GW. Li, J. Pekkanen, J. Komppula, M. Hirvonen, MR. Jalava, PI. Roponen, M. (2018). Integrating farm and air pollution studies in search for immunoregulatory mechanisms operating in protective and high-risk environments. PEDIATRIC ALLERGY AND IMMUNOLOGY, 29 (8) , 815-822. 10.1111/pai.12975.
Studies conducted in farm environments suggest that diverse microbial exposure promotes children's lung health. The underlying mechanisms are unclear, and the development of asthma‐preventive strategies has been delayed. More comprehensive investigation of the environment‐induced immunoregulation is required for better understanding of asthma pathogenesis and prevention. Exposure to air pollution, including particulate matter (PM), is a risk factor for asthma, thus providing an excellent counterpoint for the farm‐effect research. Lack of comparable data, however, complicates interpretation of the existing information. We aimed to explore the immunoregulatory effects of cattle farm dust (protective, Finland) and urban air PM (high‐risk, China) for the first time using identical research methods.
We stimulated PBMCs of 4‐year‐old children (N = 18) with farm dust and size‐segregated PM and assessed the expression of immune receptors CD80 and ILT4 on dendritic cells and monocytes as well as cytokine production of PBMCs. Environmental samples were analysed for their composition.
Farm dust increased the percentage of cells expressing CD80 and the cytokine production of children's immune cells, whereas PM inhibited the expression of important receptors and the production of soluble mediators. Although PM samples induced parallel immune reactions, the size‐fraction determined the strength of the effects.
Our study demonstrates the significance of using the same research framework when disentangling shared and distinctive immune pathways operating in different environments. Observed stimulatory effects of farm dust and inhibitory effects of PM could shape responses towards respiratory pathogens and allergens, and partly explain differences in asthma prevalence between studied environments.