Dog-associated house dust protects against respiratory infection linked to asthma

June 19, 2012

House dust from homes with dogs appears to protect against infection with a common respiratory virus that is associated with the development of asthma in children. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, present their findings today at the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

"In this study we found that feeding mice house dust from homes that have dogs present protected them against a childhood airway infectious agent, (RSV). RSV infection is common in infants and can manifest as mild to severe respiratory symptoms. Severe infection in infancy is associated with a higher risk of developing childhood asthma," says Kei Fujimura, a researcher on the study.

In the study Fujimura and her colleagues compared three groups of animals: Mice fed house dust from homes with dogs before being infected with RSV, mice infected with RSV without exposure to dust and a control group of mice not infected with RSV.

"Mice fed dust did not exhibit symptoms associated with RSV-mediated airway infection, such as inflammation and mucus production. They also possessed a distinct gastrointestinal bacterial composition compared to animals not fed dust," says Fujimura.

Pet ownership, in particular dogs, has previously been associated with protection against childhood asthma development, says Fujimura. Recently she and her colleagues demonstrated that the collection of (the microbiome) in house dust from homes that possess a cat or dog is compositionally distinct from house dust from homes with no pets.

"This led us to speculate that microbes within dog-associated house dust may colonize the , modulate immune responses and protect the host against the asthmagenic pathogen RSV," says Fujimura. "This study represents the first step towards determining the identity of the which confer protection against this respiratory pathogen."

Identification of the specific species and mechanisms underlying this protective effect represents a crucial step towards understanding the critical role of microbes in defining allergic disease outcomes and could lead to development of microbial-based therapies to protect against RSV and ultimately reduce the risk of development, says Fujimura.

Explore further: Researchers map pathway of infection for a common, potentially life-threatening respiratory virus

Related Stories

Researchers map pathway of infection for a common, potentially life-threatening respiratory virus

August 15, 2011
Researchers at the University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), St. Paul's Hospital and the University of British Columbia have identified a new treatment target for a virus that causes severe lung infections ...

Study finds bronchiolitis severity depends on the virus, and questions the practice of rooming children together

April 4, 2012
A 16-hospital study, led by researchers at  Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, is challenging common wisdom about bronchiolitis, a respiratory illness and the leading cause of hospitalization ...

Recommended for you

Gene immunotherapy protects against multiple sclerosis in mice

September 21, 2017
A potent and long-lasting gene immunotherapy approach prevents and reverses symptoms of multiple sclerosis in mice, according to a study published September 21st in the journal Molecular Therapy. Multiple sclerosis is an ...

New academic study reveals true extent of the link between hard water and eczema

September 21, 2017
Hard water damages our protective skin barrier and could contribute to the development of eczema, a new study has shown.

Exposure to pet and pest allergens during infancy linked to reduced asthma risk

September 19, 2017
Children exposed to high indoor levels of pet or pest allergens during infancy have a lower risk of developing asthma by 7 years of age, new research supported by the National Institutes of Health reveals. The findings, published ...

MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system

September 18, 2017
The immune system automatically destroys dysfunctional cells such as cancer cells, but cancerous tumors often survive nonetheless. A new study by Salk scientists shows one method by which fast-growing tumors evade anti-tumor ...

'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses

September 15, 2017
Scientists at the University of Southampton have made a significant discovery in efforts to develop a vaccine against Zika, dengue and Hepatitis C viruses that affect millions of people around the world.

Regular exercise, stress can both make a big difference in lupus, study finds

September 13, 2017
Waking up in the morning with the joint pain, swelling and stiffness that accompanies lupus doesn't exactly inspire a workout.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.