|Many studies have reported that exposure to environmental molds (fungi) indoors or outdoors can cause and/or worsen asthma/ rhinitis or other allergic conditions. The exact molecular and chemical reasons why mold exposures worsen asthma are only partially known.
A recent study isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs- a form of white blood cells) from the blood of 33 patients with a history of environmental mold exposures and 17 unexposed controls. These PBMC cells were incubated in vitro with extracts from the common indoor molds Aspergillus niger, Cladosporium herbarum, and Penicillium chrysogenum and with satratoxin G- a prominent mycotoxin. After 18 hours of incubating the cells with extracts from molds or mycotoxins, the levels of cytokines and chemokines were measured.
The chemokine and cytokine profiles were significantly different in the PBMC cells from the mold exposed patients as compared to the PBMC cells from the unexposed controls. Cytokines and chemokines are biochemicals with a number of different activities including inflammation.
Most of these chemokines and cytokines are involved with inflammatory or anti-inflammatory responses: Altered chemokine and cytokine expression can play a major role in the development of asthma, rhinitis, eczema or other allergic diseases.
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