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Dust in Homes with Dogs May Protect Against Allergies, Asthma
An NIAID-funded study in mice suggests that exposure to dust from homes with dogs may affect immune responses to allergens and other asthma triggers by reshaping the gut microbiome—the community of microbes that naturally colonize the digestive tract. The results, published December 16 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offer potential new strategies to prevent and treat certain allergic diseases and lung infections.
A team of investigators from four institutions found that feeding mice dust from a home with a dog protected the animals from airway inflammation triggered by allergens. Exposing the mice to dog-associated dust also changed the composition of the animals’ gut microbiome. The researchers identified a specific gut bacterium that protects the airways against allergens and viral infection, two risk factors for childhood asthma.