House dust mites, endosymbiotic bacteria and asthma [ 2000 - 2002 ]

Also known as: Allergens from mites and endosymbiotic bacteria are associated with the development of asthma

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Geoffrey Stewart (Principal investigator)

Brief description Asthma is a very common, chronic disease in both children and adults, with a prevalence of at least 5% worldwide. It continues to have a highly significant clinical and socio-economic impact on Western communities, despite the introduction of a variety of pharmacological treatments and there is evidence to indicate that the mortality rate from the disease is increasing. Several sources are known to be associated with asthma but the most frequently associated allergen is the house dust mite (HDM) and allergy to it has been shown to be an independent risk factor. Our laboratory has been involved in these studies and have isolated several enzymes associated with digestion. We have also shown that the mite proteases are potent inducers of cytokines from respiratory epithelium, indicating that the biochemistry of allergens may be important in the sensitisation. During these studies, we have shown that mites produce enzymes which lysed Gram-positive bacteria. Analysis of one of these enzymes has revealed that mites are colonised by bacteria in their gut. These bacteria may well be a source of some of the allergens which provoke symptoms in asthmatic patients. In this grant proposal, experiments will be performed to assess this possibility. Such findings may have significant impact on our understanding of mite allergy as well as highlighting potentially new insights into mite control.

Funding Amount $AUD 208,372.71

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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