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Smoking affects allergy-relevant stem cells
Date:11/14/2012

combined this knowledge from stem cell research with the results of many years of exposure research at the UFZ. The researchers characterise their approach in the following way: "We wanted to clarify the relationship between environmental influences and the maturation and differentiation of the progenitor cells on the one hand and its contribution to the occurrence of allergies on the other hand. Specifically, we wanted to know whether the occurrence of allergy-relevant progenitor cells in the blood of infants can be changed by environmental influences".

The results of the study, based on the data collected from 60 children aged one year, were recently published in the British medical journal "Clinical & Experimental Allergy": It was found that children with skin manifestations, such as atopic dermatitis or cradle cap, have increased levels of eosinophil progenitors in their blood. In this connection, it was shown for the first time that children already afflicted show particularly sensitive reactions when exposed to environmental contaminants: The offspring of families exposed to significant levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC) at home were found to have considerably higher allergy-relevant eosinophilic/basophilic progenitor cell levels. "That VOCs, large amounts of which are released with cigarette smoke, have the greatest effect on stem cells was not entirely unexpected", explains Dr. Irina Lehmann. "Just as important, however", adds Dr. Kristin Weie, is "that we can show that alterations in the number of stem cells as a result of harmful substances take place only in children who have already been afflicted with skin manifestations." This leads to the conclusion: There is a relationship between the genetic predisposition for a disease and environmental influences there are environmental and life style factors which determine whether a genetic predisposition is in fact realised or not.

Considerable logistical effort underlies th
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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