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March 2021

The intersect of genetics, environment, and microbiota in asthma-perspectives and challenges

In asthma, a significant portion of the interaction between genetics and environment occurs through microbiota. The proposed mechanisms behind this interaction are complex and at times contradictory. This review covers recent developments in our understanding of this interaction: the "microbial hypothesis" and the "farm effect"; the role of endotoxin and genetic variation in pattern recognition systems; the interaction with allergen exposure; the additional involvement of host gut and airway microbiota; the role of viral respiratory infections in interaction with the 17q21 and CDHR3 genetic loci; and the importance of in utero and early-life timing of exposures.

Asthma Published research Human Immunology
January 2021

Time spent outdoors through childhood and adolescence - assessed by 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration - and risk of myopia at 20 years

To investigate the relationship between time spent outdoors, at particular ages in childhood and adolescence, and myopia status in young adulthood using serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration as a biomarker of time spent outdoors. Participants of the Raine Study Generation 2 cohort had 25(OH)D concentrations measured at the 6-, 14-, 17- and 20-year follow-ups. Participants underwent cycloplegic autorefraction at age 20 years, and myopia was defined as a mean spherical equivalent -0.50 dioptres or more myopic. Logistic regression was used to analyse the association between risk of myopia at age 20 years and age-specific 25(OH)D concentrations. Linear mixed-effects models were used to analyse trajectory of 25(OH)D concentrations from 6 to 20 years.

Published research Vitamin D and Sunlight Human Immunology
December 2020

OPTIMUM study protocol: an adaptive randomised controlled trial of a mixed whole-cell/acellular pertussis vaccine schedule

Combination vaccines containing whole-cell pertussis antigens were phased out from the Australian national immunisation programme between 1997 and 1999 and replaced by the less reactogenic acellular pertussis (aP) antigens. In a large case-control study of Australian children born during the transition period, those with allergist diagnosed IgE-mediated food allergy were less likely to have received whole-cell vaccine in early infancy than matched population controls (OR: 0.77 (95% CI, 0.62 to 0.95)). We hypothesise that a single dose of whole-cell vaccine in early infancy is protective against IgE-mediated food allergy.

Published research Human Immunology Subsite: Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases
December 2020

Transplacental Innate Immune Training via Maternal Microbial Exposure: Role of XBP1-ERN1 Axis in Dendritic Cell Precursor Programming

We recently reported that offspring of mice treated during pregnancy with the microbial-derived immunomodulator OM-85 manifest striking resistance to allergic airways inflammation, and localized the potential treatment target to fetal conventional dendritic cell (cDC) progenitors. Here, we profile maternal OM-85 treatment-associated transcriptomic signatures in fetal bone marrow, and identify a series of immunometabolic pathways which provide essential metabolites for accelerated myelopoiesis.

Published research Experimental Immunology Human Immunology Systems Immunology