The prevalence of allergic diseases, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, eczema and food allergy, has been increasing worldwide, as shown in a large number of studies, including the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC). However, there is significant variation in the prevalence of these diseases in different regions, suggesting that there may be location-specific factors such as environment and microbial exposure affecting allergic disease prevalence. Hence, in this study we determine if there is a difference in microbiota composition and allergen concentration of household dust collected from the homes of non-allergic and allergic subjects from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) cohort.
From the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) cohort, 25 allergic subjects and 25 non-allergic subjects were selected at the year 5.5 follow up. Definitions of allergic outcomes were standardized in the questionnaires administered at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 24, 36, 48 and 60 months to ensure consistency during interviews and home visits. Allergen sensitization was determined by skin prick testing (SPT) at 18, 36 and 60 months. Dust samples were collected from the subject’s bed, sofa, and play area. DNA extraction was carried out and V3-V4 hypervariable regions of bacterial 16S rRNA gene were sequenced. Protein extraction was performed and allergens assayed by using multiplex assay and ELISA.
The most abundant phyla in house dust were Actinobacteria (29.8%), Firmicutes (27.7%), and Proteobacteria (22.4%). Although there were no differences in bacteria abundance and diversity between house dust samples of allergic and non-allergic subjects, the relative abundance of Anaplasmataceae, Bacteroidaceae, and Leptospiraceae were significantly higher in dust samples of allergic subjects as compared to non-allergic subjects in 2 or more locations. The concentration of Der p 1 was significantly lower in bed dust samples of allergic subjects (Median [Interquartile range], 174 ng/g [115–299 ng/g]) as compared to non-allergic subjects (309 ng/g [201–400 ng/g]; P < 0.05). The concentration of tropomyosin was significantly higher in sofa dust samples of allergic subjects (175 ng/g [145–284 ng/g] as compared to non-allergic subjects (116 ng/g [52.8–170 ng/g]; P < 0.05).
In conclusion, we found a differential microbiota and allergen profile between homes of allergic and non-allergic subjects.