The cause of asthma can be due to many different factors from environmental, to inheritance, and even antibiotics. The mysteries of asthma all lead to an issue with the immune system because immune cells go into over drive when they sense a trigger and cause inflammation. A study by Gary Huffnagle an immunologist at the University of Michigan has shown the possibility of bacteria being a cause of the disease. He did an experiment where he exposed mice to yeast in their intestines, mold spores up their noses that moved down the airways and antibiotics. The mice showed signs of asthma and their blood tests revealed a disruption of their immune system. But with mold and yeast alone the mice showed no affect and were perfectly healthy until they were given antibiotics. Along with these studies, observations suggest that the balance of bacteria and other microbes help guide immune development and when the balance is disrupted diseases may develop. Antibiotics can either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria but by these studies can also disrupt the balance of bacteria in side us.
Inside us we have thousands of species of bacteria, along with fungi and viruses called the microbiome. The presence or absence of the bacteria is not the problem but the shape or structure of the whole community. Researchers have found that children who develop asthma, have different bacteria and sometimes a less diverse mix then those who are healthy. In the article “Breastfeeding, other factors help shape immune system early in life” found in Science Daily, tells about six separate studies were researchers looked at whether the microbiome effected the development of regulatory T-cells. Through this study they identified that asthmatic children had a distinct microbiome during their first year of life. A pediatrician at the University of Copenhagen Hans Bisgaard has found that children with the disease have abundant neutrophils (white blood cells) in their lungs the generally appear when the body is fighting infection.
This findings help reinforce the knowledge that it’s better for children to be exposed to microorganism or bacteria to help stimulate the immune system. This can help them be less susceptible to develop asthma or allergies. This is known as the hygiene hypothesis the idea that a sterile environment can disrupt the development of the immune system. Research is still ongoing to prove that bacteria one of the factors that helps cause asthma. These discoveries help explain the association between bacteria and the increase risk of asthma in childhood. But they are just associations it has not been proven yet.Posted by Jazmin Granadeno (Group B)