M Boeve

Universiteit Utrecht, Utrecht, Provincie Utrecht, Netherlands

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Publications (4)19.86 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Dust collection by study participants instead of fieldworkers would be a practical and cost-effective alternative in large-scale population studies estimating exposure to indoor allergens and microbial agents. We aimed to compare dust weights and biological agent levels in house dust samples taken by study participants with nylon socks, with those in samples taken by fieldworkers using the sampling nozzle of the Allergology Laboratory Copenhagen (ALK). In homes of 216 children, parents and fieldworkers collected house dust within the same year. Dust samples were analyzed for levels of allergens, endotoxin, (1-->3)-beta-D-glucans and fungal extracellular polysaccharides (EPS). Socks appeared to yield less dust from mattresses at relatively low dust amounts and more dust at high dust amounts than ALK samples. Correlations between the methods ranged from 0.47-0.64 for microbial agents and 0.64-0.87 for mite and pet allergens. Cat allergen levels were two-fold lower and endotoxin levels three-fold higher in socks than in ALK samples. Levels of allergens and microbial agents in sock samples taken by study participants are moderately to highly correlated to levels in ALK samples taken by fieldworkers. Absolute levels may differ, probably because of differences in the method rather than in the person who performed the sampling. Practical Implications Dust collection by participants is a reliable and practical option for allergen and microbial agent exposure assessment. Absolute levels of biological agents are not (always) comparable between studies using different dust collection methods, even when expressed per gram dust, because of potential differences in particle-size constitution of the collected dust.
    Indoor Air 01/2007; 16(6):414-25. · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Low sensitization rates to common allergens have been observed in farm children, which might be due to high exposure to microbial agents. It is not known how microbial agents modify the association between specific allergen exposure and sensitization. To examine the relations between house dust mite allergen exposure and mite sensitization in farm and nonfarm children and to assess the effects of microbial agents levels on this association. Major mite allergens of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Der p 1) and Dermatophagoides farinae (Der f 1), endotoxin, beta(1,3)-glucans and fungal extracellular polysaccharides were measured in mattress dust of 402 children participating in a cross-sectional study in five European countries. Mite allergen (Der p 1 + Der f 1) levels were divided into tertiles with cut-offs 1.4 and 10.4 microg/g. Sensitization was assessed by measurement of allergen-specific immunoglobulin E against house dust mite. Prevalence ratios of mite sensitization for medium and high when compared with low mite allergen levels were 3.1 [1.7-5.7] and 1.4 [0.7-2.8] respectively. Highest mite sensitization rates at intermediate exposure levels were consistently observed across country (except for Sweden) and in both farm and nonfarm children. The shape of the dose-response curve was similar for above and below median mattress microbial agent levels, but the 'sensitization peak' appeared to be lower for above median levels. Our data suggest a bell-shaped dose-response relationship between mite allergen exposure and sensitization to mite allergens. In populations with high microbial agent levels and low sensitization rates, the curve is shifted down.
    Allergy 06/2006; 61(5):640-7. · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Growing up on a farm and an anthroposophic lifestyle are associated with a lower prevalence of allergic diseases in childhood. This might be related to increased inhalatory exposure to microbial agents. To assess the association between microbial agents in house dust and atopic wheeze in farm children, Steiner school children and reference children. Levels of bacterial endotoxin, fungal beta(1,3)-glucans and fungal extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) in mattress and living room floor dust were measured in a population of 270 atopic (=Phadiatop-positive) children with self-reported wheezing, including 168 current atopic wheezers, and 441 non-atopic, non-symptomatic controls. These children were selected from a cross-sectional study in five European countries. In the study population as a whole, average levels of mattress dust endotoxin, EPS and glucans were slightly (1.1-1.2-fold; P<0.10) higher in control children than in atopic wheezers. Atopic wheeze was related to mattress levels of endotoxin, EPS and glucans in farm and farm-reference children. However, when adjusting for group (farm vs. farm-reference children), the associations became non-significant whereas the group effect remained. No associations between atopic wheeze and microbial agents were observed in Steiner and Steiner-reference children. For current atopic wheeze, the farm effect became non-significant after adjustment for microbial agent levels. Not only bacterial endotoxin but also mould components might offer some protection against atopic wheeze in children. However, the protective effect of being raised on a farm was largely unexplained by the mattress microbial agent levels measured in this study.
    Clinical & Experimental Allergy 10/2005; 35(10):1272-8. · 4.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Growing up on a farm and an anthroposophic lifestyle are associated with a lower prevalence of allergic diseases in childhood. It has been suggested that the enhanced exposure to endotoxin is an important protective factor of farm environments. Little is known about exposure to other microbial components on farms and exposure in anthroposophic families. To assess the levels and determinants of bacterial endotoxin, mould beta(1,3)-glucans and fungal extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) in house dust of farm children, Steiner school children and reference children. Mattress and living room dust was collected in the homes of 229 farm children, 122 Steiner children and 60 and 67 of their respective reference children in five European countries. Stable dust was collected as well. All samples were analysed in one central laboratory. Determinants were assessed by questionnaire. Levels of endotoxin, EPS and glucans per gram of house dust in farm homes were 1.2- to 3.2-fold higher than levels in reference homes. For Steiner children, 1.1- to 1.6-fold higher levels were observed compared with their reference children. These differences were consistently found across countries, although mean levels varied considerably. Differences between groups and between countries were also significant after adjustment for home and family characteristics. Farm children are not only consistently exposed to higher levels of endotoxin, but also to higher levels of mould components. Steiner school children may also be exposed to higher levels of microbial agents, but differences with reference children are much less pronounced than for farm children. Further analyses are, however, required to assess the association between exposure to these various microbial agents and allergic and airway diseases in the PARSIFAL population.
    Allergy 06/2005; 60(5):611-8. · 5.88 Impact Factor