Monday, 24 August 2009
Friday, 21 August 2009
Tobias M. Hohl is honored for his research on the interaction of Aspergillus fumigatus and the pulmonary innate immune system. Hohl earned his M.D.- Ph.D. from the tri-institutional program of Weill Medical College and Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Rockefeller University, New York. While a Research Fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Hohl studied chemokine induction and signaling pathways in macrophages exposed to A. fumigatus. He learned that Dectin-1, a receptor expressed on dendritic cells and macrophages, binds β-glucans on the surface of germinating A. fumigatus conidia. Hohl showed that β-glucans are expressed in state-specific fashion on geminating A. fumigatus, thereby, restricting the inflammatory response to germinating but not dormant fungal spores.
His work demonstrated for the first time how the mammalian immune system recognizes Aspergillus infections; it was published in PLoS Pathogen.
Friday, 14 August 2009
It has been hypothesised (the "hygiene hypothesis") over the last few decades that the taking of antibiotics has a role in the increase in asthma and allergy observed over the same time. This paper describes the creation of a mouse model for antibiotic-induced disturbance of the microbial flora in the gut. Once the mice have been given antibiotics they become susceptible to an allergic airway response to stimulus by Aspergillus fumigatus spores. If the mice are not given antibiotics they do not develop the allergic response.
This is the first experimental demonstration that antibiotics and gut flora can influence allergic airway disease, and highlights the concept that events in a distant mucosal site such as the gut can play an important role in regulating immune responses in the lungs.
Friday, 7 August 2009
We wrote an article on this issue some time ago and noted at that time that most tea is made by a mold-free process.
In fact the same would go for most plant foods as Aspergillus is an important component of soil and most plant material will have been in contact with soil and windblown soil. The amount of mold contaminating the plant material is probably very small and some will probably be washed off during preparation but will still not be completely free of Aspergillus material.
This is not a problem for most people and we have no reliable information telling us that anyone is badly effected by eating plant food carrying this much Aspergillus - even those who have increased allergy to this fungus.
Fermented teas are of course completely different. They have been cultured with the mould and will contain many thousands of times more Aspergillus material compared with non-fermented tea.