Mechanisms of enhanced prevalence of asthma and atopy in developed countries

Curr Opin Immunol. 1997 Dec;9(6):788-92. doi: 10.1016/s0952-7915(97)80179-3.


Atopy--a T helper 2 cell driven hypersensitivity to innocuous antigens (allergens) which causes most cases of asthma-- is of complex genetic and environmental origins. There is compelling epidemiological evidence for a rise in atopic disease in 'westernised' communities. The changing pattern of microbial exposure in early childhood is suggested to be the principal candidate mechanism for this rise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Developed Countries
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Allergens