McGill Health e-News reports that allergic diseases are on the rise. Specifically, allergic asthma in children, which has become the number one chronic illness in Canada. It is also a major cause of children being hospitalized. Dr. Irah King, of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories, is a co-author on a recent Nature Immunology publication on the topic. Understanding the increasing rate of allergic asthma is the first step towards preventing or finding a cure.
The leading theory is known as “The Hygiene Hypothesis” – that due to regular use of antibiotics and disinfectants, people are less exposed to microorganisms that would normally train our immune system to be more tolerant. To exacerbate the lowered immune response, our exposure to substances in our environment, such as surfactants in detergent, may induce cell death. These compounds are harmful to barrier surfaces such as the intestines and lungs and may additionally prime our immune system to generate allergic, type-2 responses.
Read about the study:
Schneider C, Shen C, Gopal AA, Douglas T, Forestell B, Kauffman KD, Rogers D, Artusa P, Zhang Q, Jing H, Freeman AF, Barber DL, King IL, Saleh M, Wiseman PW, Su HC, Mandl JN. Migration-induced cell shattering due to DOCK8 deficiency causes a type 2–biased helper T cell response. Nat Immunol. 2020 Oct 5. doi: 10.1038/s41590-020-0795-1.