Moldy Homes a Serious Risk for Severe Asthma Attacks

Exposure to high levels of fungus may increase the risk of severe asthma attacks among people with certain gene variants. Researchers found that the interaction between environmental mold exposure and certain variants of chitinase genes were positively associated with severe asthma exacerbations requiring hospitalization. Chitinases break down chitin, a component in many fungi, and are induced during allergic inflammation. It has been suggested by past research that these could be biomarkers of inflammation. Moreover, certain variants of chitinase genes are known to be expressed more heavily in people with asthma. The researchers used data from the Childhood Asthma Management Program, a multicenter trial that enrolled children between the ages of 5 and 12 with mild to moderate persistent asthma. To read the complete study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, please click here.