Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Global Warming May Cause Spike in Asthma, Allergy Symptoms

Ascochyta leaf spot (Ascochyta fabae) lesions on field bean leaves & stem (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
A new study finds that exposure to a widespread outdoor fungus can increase cell damage (oxidative stress) in the airways.  This spike weakens the airways' barrier defense system that, when functioning normally, removes infection- and allergy-causing organisms (mucociliary clearance).  The study, published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology -- Cell Physiology, was chosen as an APSselect article for June.

Alternaria alternata is a fungus that produces spores in the dry, warm weather of late summer and early fall.  Previous studies have found that Alternaria produces up to three times more spores when atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are high.  Airway exposure to the fungal spores may induce allergy symptoms and asthma in some people.
Current climate-warming trends may intensify the problem, the research team noted.  "These results suggest that continuing increases in atmospheric CO2 associated with global climate change will increase both the level of Alternaria exposure and antigenicity [the ability to produce an immune response] of spores that come in contact with the airways."

Read more at Global Warming May Cause Spike in Asthma, Allergy Symptoms

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