child with dirty hands

By Ralph McDade

Let your kids get dirty; it’s good for them!

In the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine researchers explore the mechanism behind the effect of endotoxin exposure on asthma and allergies in children. The researchers used Myriad RBM’s TruCulture® tubes to collect and stimulate whole blood in order to study differences in the innate and adaptive immune response in Amish and Hutterite children. The authors also investigated cellular changes and allergy biomarkers in serum. Amish and Hutterite people are similar in genetic make-up and lifestyle, but differ in exposure to microbial antigen which has been shown to be protective for asthma and allergies in other studies.

The results show that Amish children, who –through their families’ dairy farms– are more exposed to endotoxins then their Hutterite counterparts, have a reduced incidence of asthma and allergies coinciding with lower serum IgE levels. Stimulating the innate immune system with LPS resulted in lower cytokine release in Amish then Hutterite children, but there were no differences when using a T cell specific stimulant. This data and changes in immune cell populations suggests that lower asthma incidence in children exposed to microbial antigen and their endotoxin is mediated by changes in innate immunity.

Innate Immunity and Asthma Risk in Amish and Hutterite Farm Children by M.M. Stein et al. in the NEJM
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