News

Study shows link between early lung development and allergies

Researchers have found that lung development during the first 28 days of life is important to the growth of the immune system.


Researchers have found that lung development during the first 28 days of life is important to the immune system’s ability to defend the body against allergic reactions in adulthood.

Scientists understand that the development of allergies is likely to be linked to lung development in early life, however little is known about the process behind this.

The study, published in the journal, Nature Medicine, examined tiny cells in the lungs, known as microbiota, and looked at the role they play in the development of allergies.  

The researchers observed lung growth and allergies in young mice. They found that, when exposed to dust mites immediately after birth, the mice had an allergic reaction.

When the mice came into contact with the dust mites after two weeks of development, during which the number of microbiota in the lungs grew, the level of reaction was reduced. The researchers also found that if they prevented the growth of microbiota in the lungs, the mice were also more prone to allergies later in life.

The findings suggest that microbiota play a key role in the development of allergies, and need further investigation to understand whether this could be a target for treatment in the future.

Read the journal article (subscription required)

Sign up to our newsletter