Inhaled Environmental Allergens and Toxicants as Determinants of the Asthma Phenotype

  • Kristin Sokol
  • Sanjiv Sur
  • Bill T. AmeredesEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 795)


The driving environmental factors behind the development of the asthma phenotype remain incompletely studied and understood. Here, we present an overview of inhaled allergic/atopic and mainly nonallergic/nonatopic or toxicant shapers of the asthma phenotype, which are present in both the indoor and outdoor environment around us. The inhaled allergic/atopic factors include fungus, mold, animal dander, cockroach, dust mites, and pollen; these allergic triggers and shapers of the asthma phenotype are considered in the context of their ability to drive the immunologic IgE response and potentially induce interactions between the innate and adaptive immune responses, with special emphasis on the NADPH-dependent reactive oxygen-species-associated mechanism of pollen-associated allergy induction. The inhaled nonallergic/nonatopic, toxicant factors include gaseous and volatile agents, such as sulfur dioxide, ozone, acrolein, and butadiene, as well as particulate agents, such as rubber tire breakdown particles, and diesel exhaust particles. These toxicants are reviewed in terms of their relevant chemical characteristics and hazard potential, ability to induce airway dysfunction, and potential for driving the asthma phenotype. Special emphasis is placed on their interactive nature with other triggers and drivers, with regard to driving the asthma phenotype. Overall, both allergic and nonallergic environmental factors can interact to acutely exacerbate the asthma phenotype; some may also promote its development over prolonged periods of untreated exposure, or possibly indirectly through effects on the genome. Further therapeutic considerations should be given to these environmental factors when determining the best course of personalized medicine for individuals with asthma.


Acrolein Adaptive immunity Butadiene Dust mites Tire breakdown particles Diesel exhaust particles Innate immunity NADPH oxidase Ozone Ragweed pollen Reactive oxygen species Sulfur dioxide 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin Sokol
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sanjiv Sur
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bill T. Ameredes
    • 3
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Allergy and ImmunologyUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  3. 3.Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care MedicineUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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