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Increased nasal Streptococcus pneumoniae presence in Western environment associated with allergic conditions in Chinese immigrants

Schwager, MJ, Song, Y ORCID: 0000-0002-8178-5641, Laing, IA, Saiganesh, A, Guo, J, Le Souef, PN and Zhang, G 2021 , 'Increased nasal Streptococcus pneumoniae presence in Western environment associated with allergic conditions in Chinese immigrants' , International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, vol. 234 , pp. 1-7 , doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2021.113735.

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Background: Chinese immigrants living in Australia experience increased allergic conditions: asthma, eczema, hay fever and wheeze. Recently we reported diminished innate cytokine responses in long-term immigrants, potentially increasing their pathogenic viral load and microbial carriage. We hypothesise that a Western environment changes the nasal microbiome profile, and this altered profile may be associated with the development of allergic conditions. In this cross-sectional study, we aimed to examine the loading of viral and microbial respiratory pathogens in the upper airway.Methods: Adult Chinese immigrants were grouped depending on time spent in Australia: short-term (Burkholderia spp., Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae, were validated using qPCR in the population. Associations for bacterial prevalence with atopic phenotypes were investigated.Results: Pooling the initial screen and validation subjects, S. aureus and S. pneumoniae had higher prevalence in long-term compared with short-term subjects (25.0% vs 8.1%, P = 0.012; and 76.8% vs 48.4%, P = 0.002). Those immigrants with nasal S. pneumoniae presence resided longer (average time 90.4 months) in Australia than immigrants without S. pneumoniae (52.7 months; P = 0.001). After adjusting for confounders, Chinese immigrants with S. pneumoniae carriage have a five-fold increased risk of doctor-diagnosed eczema (odds ratio, OR 5.36, 95% CI: 1.10-26.14; P = 0.038) compared to immigrants without S. pneumoniae carriage. There was a trend of S. pneumoniae abundance correlating with reduced host Toll-like receptor gene expression.Conclusion: Our findings suggest that nasal S. pneumoniae may play a role in the development of allergic conditions in Chinese immigrants in a Western environment.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Schwager, MJ and Song, Y and Laing, IA and Saiganesh, A and Guo, J and Le Souef, PN and Zhang, G
Keywords: allergy, atopic eczema, immigrants, nasal colonization, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Western environment
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
Publisher: Urban & Fischer Verlag
ISSN: 1438-4639
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2021.113735
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© 2021 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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