© 2016

Environmental Influences on the Immune System

  • Charlotte Esser

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Age and Lifestyle

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
    2. Julia N. Mälzer, Axel R. Schulz, Andreas Thiel
      Pages 55-76
    3. Caroline Roduit, Remo Frei, Erika von Mutius, Roger Lauener
      Pages 77-96
    4. Rebecca G. Reed, Charles L. Raison
      Pages 97-126
    5. Elisa Couto Gomes, Geraint Florida-James
      Pages 127-152
  3. Chemicals and Pollutants

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 153-153
    2. Katrine Kielsen, Zaiba Shamim, Lars P. Ryder, Philippe Grandjean, Carsten Heilmann
      Pages 181-203
    3. Renee M. Gardner, Jennifer F. Nyland
      Pages 273-302
  4. Challenges

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 303-303
    2. Angela Ceribelli, Elena Generali, Carlo Selmi
      Pages 305-320
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 371-378

About this book


This book brings together articles on the overarching theme of how the environment shapes the immune system.    

The immune system is commonly assumed to respond to harmful pathogens such as  bacteria and viruses. However, harmless bacteria, chemicals, stress, normal food and other factors can also trigger, shape or interfere with the immune system, often  producing adverse effects. Yet, it is also becoming increasingly accepted that some of these interactions are physiological and necessary for a healthy immune system.  

Examples of negative effects include the immunosuppressive effects of UV irradiation, or the immunotoxic effects of manmade chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Autoimmunity or allergies  can be the adverse consequences of interaction between the immune system and chemical compounds such as drugs. Positive effects can come from natural exposure levels to bacteria, healthy life-style or the diet. 

There is a great need to understand how communication between the environment and the immune system works. This book addresses this need. It covers environmental factors (such as bacteria, sun exposure), human factors (such as age, exercise or stress), and important man-made factors (such as air pollution). A chapter on human rights complements the scientific chapters. The book is intended for immunologists, toxicologists and researchers who want to know how the immune system works and is triggered, as well as for medical doctors in environmental medicine and the general public interested in immunology. 


Allergy Autoimmunity Danger of UV Immunotoxicology Microbiom Nutrition and Health

Editors and affiliations

  • Charlotte Esser
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DüsseldorfIUF–Leibniz Res Inst for Env MedDüsseldorfGermany

About the editors

Charlotte Esser is Professor of Immunology and group leader at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (IUF) in Düsseldorf, Germany. Her Research focuses on the adverse or beneficial consequences that low molecular weight substances (such as environmental toxins or dietary supplements) have on function and differentiation of the immune system in mice and men. A main focus lies on the analysis of the arylhydrocarbon receptor.  

Bibliographic information