House dust endotoxin, asthma and allergic sensitization through childhood into adolescence

Clin Exp Allergy. 2020 Sep;50(9):1055-1064. doi: 10.1111/cea.13705. Epub 2020 Jul 23.


Background: House dust endotoxin may have beneficial effects on allergic sensitization and asthma in children. Evidence is scarce for adolescents and most studies so far have been cross-sectional and limited to a single exposure measurement.

Objective: We assessed associations of house dust endotoxin with asthma and allergic sensitization from birth to age 17 years longitudinally taking into account exposure early in life and at primary school age.

Methods: We used data of 854 participants of the prospective Dutch PIAMA birth cohort study with house dust endotoxin measurements at 3 months and/or 5-6 years and data on asthma and/or allergic sensitization from at least one of 11 follow-ups until age 17. We assessed overall and age-specific associations of the prevalence of asthma and sensitization with mattress and living room floor dust concentrations (per gram of dust) and loads (per m2 of sampling surface).

Results: Higher living room floor dust endotoxin concentrations at 3 months were associated with lower odds of asthma until age 4 [odds ratio (95% confidence interval) ranging from 0.70 (0.51-0.97) at age 1 to 0.76 (0.57-1.00) at age 3 per interquartile range increase], but not thereafter in children of allergic mothers. Higher living room floor dust endotoxin at 5-6 years was associated with higher odds of sensitization at 8-16 years [eg odds ratio (95% confidence interval) 1.70 (1.17-2.47) per interquartile range increase in endotoxin load].

Conclusions and clinical relevance: House dust endotoxin may have beneficial effects on asthma in preschool children of allergic mothers, which do not persist into adolescence. Beneficial associations with allergic sensitization could not be confirmed.

Keywords: allergic sensitization; asthma; birth cohort; endotoxin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / genetics
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dust / immunology*
  • Endotoxins / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / genetics
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / genetics


  • CD14 protein, human
  • Dust
  • Endotoxins
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • TLR4 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4