Allergy-induced asthma has been on a rising spree owing to the increase in air pollution, smoking, hygiene factors and the use of antibiotics. According to a research conducted by University of Zurich immunologists and allergy specialists from the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, infection with helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) apparently guards the body against allergy-induced asthma.
The research seemingly affirms the hypothesis that the considerable rise in allergic diseases is associated to the diminishing of particular micro-organisms that constitute the human body. The hygiene hypothesis puts forth that modern ways of life have resulted in lack of contact with infectious sources, which ought to be essential for natural growth of the immune system.
H. pylori bacterium supposedly opposes gastric acid and statistics say that nearly half of the world’s populace might be infected with it. The infection seems to have no major symptoms but in some instances may lead to gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcers as well as stomach cancer. Subsequently, H. pylori seems to usually be killed with antibiotics as a safety measure even if the patient does not complain of any symptoms.
As part of the study, mice were infected with H. pylori bacteria. Mice that are just a few days old, if infected, apparently showed immunological tolerance to the bacterium and reacted with low significance if at all they did to strong asthma instigating allergens. On the other hand, mice that were not afflicted with H. pylori seemingly had a poor defense mechanism by the time they reached adulthood.
“Early infection impairs the maturation of the dendritic cells and triggers the accumulation of regulatory T-cells that are crucial for the suppression of asthma,” remarked Anne Müller, a professor of molecular cancer research at the University of Zurich, explaining the protective mechanism.
If regulatory T-cells were transited from infected to uninfected mice, they too seemed to enjoy the efficient shield against allergy-induced asthma. But, if H. Pylori was killed in the body of early inflicted mice with antibiotics following the sensitization phase, they apparently lost their opposition to asthma-inducing allergens. According to scientists, the new outcomes affirm the hygiene hypothesis. They believe that such analysis of principal micro-organisms is essential for getting an insight into asthma and develop preventive strategies and treatments in the future.
The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.