What is the "hygiene hypothesis" and how does it relate to asthma?

Updated: Jan 07, 2019
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

The current "hygiene hypothesis" of asthma illustrates how this cytokine imbalance may explain some of the dramatic increases in asthma prevalence in westernized countries. [7] This hypothesis is based on the concept that the immune system of the newborn is skewed toward Th2 cytokine generation (mediators of allergic inflammation). Following birth, environmental stimuli such as infections activate Th1 responses and bring the Th1/Th2 relationship to an appropriate balance.  However, unequivocal support for the "hypgiene hypothesis" has not been demonstrated. [8]


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