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Human exposure to airborne pollen and relationships with symptoms and immune responses: Indoors versus outdoors, circadian patterns and meteorological effects in alpine and urban environments.

Sci. Total Environ. 653, 190-199 (2019)
Postprint online available 11/2020 Open Access Green as soon as is submitted to ZB.
Pollen exposure is a major cause of respiratory allergies worldwide. However, it is unclear how everyday exposure is related to symptoms and how allergic patients may be affected spatially and temporally. Hence, we investigated the relationship of pollen, symptoms and immune responses under a controlled regime of 'high-low-moderate' pollen exposure in urban versus alpine environment.The research was conducted in 2016 in two locations in Germany: urban Augsburg (494 m) and Schneefernerhaus (UFS) on Zugspitze mountain (2656 m). Monitoring of airborne pollen took place using Hirst-type volumetric traps. On UFS, both indoor and outdoor samples were taken. Grass pollen allergic human volunteers were monitored daily during the peak of the grass pollen season, in Augsburg, on UFS, then again in Augsburg. Nasal biosamples were obtained throughout the study to investigate immune responses.All symptoms decreased significantly during the stay on UFS and remained low even after the return to Augsburg. The same was observed for nasal total IgE and IgM levels and for nasal type 2 cytokines and chemokines. Augsburg showed higher pollen concentrations than those on UFS. At all sites, pollen were present throughout each day, but were more abundant in Augsburg during morning. On UFS, outdoor pollen levels were up to 6-fold higher than those indoors. Nasal, ocular and pulmonary symptoms correlated with current and previous days' pollen concentrations and relative humidity.Stays in low-exposure environments during the peak pollen season can be an efficient means of reducing allergic symptoms and immune responses. However, in alpine environments, even occasional pollen exposure during short intervals may still trigger symptoms because of the additional environmental stress posed onto allergics. This highlights the need for the consideration of additional environmental factors, apart from symptom diaries and immune responses, so as to efficiently predict high-risk allergy periods. (c) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
Keywords Aerobiology ; Allergy ; Alpine Environment ; Exposome ; Grass Pollen ; Symptoms; Allergic Rhinitis; Lymphoid-tissue; Common Ragweed; Climate-change; Fungal Spores; Children; Cells; Rehabilitation; Circulation; Chemotaxis
Reviewing status
Institute(s) Institute of Environmental Medicine (IEM)