Household airborne Penicillium associated with peak expiratory flow variability in asthmatic children

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2009 Jul;103(1):26-30. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)60139-1.


Background: Exposure to airborne fungi has been associated with increased airway hyperreactivity and asthma prevalence.

Objective: To investigate the association between common indoor fungi and airway hyperreactivity measured by peak expiratory flow variability in asthmatic children.

Methods: Children 6 to 12 years of age (n = 225) with a physician diagnosis of asthma were enrolled in the study to have their peak expiratory flow recorded twice daily during a 2-week period. Genus-specific, quantitative, in-home airborne mold concentrations were measured. Logistic regression models were used to examine the relationship between a mean peak expiratory flow variability greater than 18.5% (75th percentile) and any mold in the home (total mold, Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria).

Results: Mold was detected in 93% of the homes. The most common molds were Cladosporium in 72% and Penicillium in 42% of the samples. Controlling for sex, ethnicity, age, and winter season of sampling, Penicillium measured in the home was associated with a mean peak expiratory flow variability greater than 18.5% (odds ratio, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-4.8). Greater peak expiratory flow variability was not associated with total mold or other mold measured in the home.

Conclusion: Exposure to airborne Penicillium is associated with increased peak expiratory flow variability in asthmatic children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Female
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mitosporic Fungi / immunology
  • Mitosporic Fungi / isolation & purification
  • Odds Ratio
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate / physiology*
  • Penicillium / immunology*
  • Penicillium / isolation & purification