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Environmental DNA reveals links between abundance and composition of airborne grass pollen and respiratory health

Rowney, Francis M ; Brennan, Georgina L LU ; Skjøth, Carsten A ; Griffith, Gareth W ; McInnes, Rachel N ; Clewlow, Yolanda ; Adams-Groom, Beverley ; Barber, Adam ; de Vere, Natasha and Economou, Theo , et al. (2021) In Current Biology 31.
Abstract

Grass (Poaceae) pollen is the most important outdoor aeroallergen,1 exacerbating a range of respiratory conditions, including allergic asthma and rhinitis ("hay fever").2-5 Understanding the relationships between respiratory diseases and airborne grass pollen with a view to improving forecasting has broad public health and socioeconomic relevance. It is estimated that there are over 400 million people with allergic rhinitis6 and over 300 million with asthma, globally,7 often comorbidly.8 In the UK, allergic asthma has an annual cost of around US$ 2.8 billion (2017).9 The relative contributions of the >11,000 (worldwide) grass species (C. Osborne et al., 2011, Botany Conference, abstract) to respiratory health have been unresolved,10... (More)

Grass (Poaceae) pollen is the most important outdoor aeroallergen,1 exacerbating a range of respiratory conditions, including allergic asthma and rhinitis ("hay fever").2-5 Understanding the relationships between respiratory diseases and airborne grass pollen with a view to improving forecasting has broad public health and socioeconomic relevance. It is estimated that there are over 400 million people with allergic rhinitis6 and over 300 million with asthma, globally,7 often comorbidly.8 In the UK, allergic asthma has an annual cost of around US$ 2.8 billion (2017).9 The relative contributions of the >11,000 (worldwide) grass species (C. Osborne et al., 2011, Botany Conference, abstract) to respiratory health have been unresolved,10 as grass pollen cannot be readily discriminated using standard microscopy.11 Instead, here we used novel environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling and qPCR12-15 to measure the relative abundances of airborne pollen from common grass species during two grass pollen seasons (2016 and 2017) across the UK. We quantitatively demonstrate discrete spatiotemporal patterns in airborne grass pollen assemblages. Using a series of generalized additive models (GAMs), we explore the relationship between the incidences of airborne pollen and severe asthma exacerbations (sub-weekly) and prescribing rates of drugs for respiratory allergies (monthly). Our results indicate that a subset of grass species may have disproportionate influence on these population-scale respiratory health responses during peak grass pollen concentrations. The work demonstrates the need for sensitive and detailed biomonitoring of harmful aeroallergens in order to investigate and mitigate their impacts on human health.

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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
in
Current Biology
volume
31
pages
9 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • pmid:33711254
ISSN
1879-0445
DOI
10.1016/j.cub.2021.02.019
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5f5d3194-7636-4217-b47a-1acad027936e
date added to LUP
2021-03-19 10:55:18
date last changed
2021-03-29 17:42:08
@article{5f5d3194-7636-4217-b47a-1acad027936e,
  abstract     = {<p>Grass (Poaceae) pollen is the most important outdoor aeroallergen,1 exacerbating a range of respiratory conditions, including allergic asthma and rhinitis ("hay fever").2-5 Understanding the relationships between respiratory diseases and airborne grass pollen with a view to improving forecasting has broad public health and socioeconomic relevance. It is estimated that there are over 400 million people with allergic rhinitis6 and over 300 million with asthma, globally,7 often comorbidly.8 In the UK, allergic asthma has an annual cost of around US$ 2.8 billion (2017).9 The relative contributions of the &gt;11,000 (worldwide) grass species (C. Osborne et al., 2011, Botany Conference, abstract) to respiratory health have been unresolved,10 as grass pollen cannot be readily discriminated using standard microscopy.11 Instead, here we used novel environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling and qPCR12-15 to measure the relative abundances of airborne pollen from common grass species during two grass pollen seasons (2016 and 2017) across the UK. We quantitatively demonstrate discrete spatiotemporal patterns in airborne grass pollen assemblages. Using a series of generalized additive models (GAMs), we explore the relationship between the incidences of airborne pollen and severe asthma exacerbations (sub-weekly) and prescribing rates of drugs for respiratory allergies (monthly). Our results indicate that a subset of grass species may have disproportionate influence on these population-scale respiratory health responses during peak grass pollen concentrations. The work demonstrates the need for sensitive and detailed biomonitoring of harmful aeroallergens in order to investigate and mitigate their impacts on human health.</p>},
  author       = {Rowney, Francis M and Brennan, Georgina L and Skjøth, Carsten A and Griffith, Gareth W and McInnes, Rachel N and Clewlow, Yolanda and Adams-Groom, Beverley and Barber, Adam and de Vere, Natasha and Economou, Theo and Hegarty, Matthew and Hanlon, Helen M and Jones, Laura and Kurganskiy, Alexander and Petch, Geoffrey M and Potter, Caitlin and Rafiq, Abdullah M and Warner, Amena and Wheeler, Benedict and Osborne, Nicholas J and Creer, Simon},
  issn         = {1879-0445},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {03},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Current Biology},
  title        = {Environmental DNA reveals links between abundance and composition of airborne grass pollen and respiratory health},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.02.019},
  doi          = {10.1016/j.cub.2021.02.019},
  volume       = {31},
  year         = {2021},
}