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Article

Transcriptomic Profiling of Adult-Onset Asthma Related to Damp and Moldy Buildings and Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance

1
Occupational Medicine, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, 00032 Helsinki, Finland
2
Human Microbiome (HUMI) Research Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
3
Varma, 00098 Helsinki, Finland
4
Skin and Allergy Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital, 00250 Helsinki, Finland
5
Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM), Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Amelia Casamassimi, Alfredo Ciccodicola and Monica Rienzo
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(19), 10679; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910679
Received: 4 September 2021 / Revised: 27 September 2021 / Accepted: 28 September 2021 / Published: 1 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcriptional Regulation and Its Misregulation in Human Diseases)
A subset of adult-onset asthma patients attribute their symptoms to damp and moldy buildings. Symptoms of idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI) may resemble asthma and these two entities overlap. We aimed to evaluate if a distinct clinical subtype of asthma related to damp and moldy buildings can be identified, to unravel its corresponding pathomechanistic gene signatures, and to investigate potential molecular similarities with IEI. Fifty female adult-onset asthma patients were categorized based on exposure to building dampness and molds during disease initiation. IEI patients (n = 17) and healthy subjects (n = 21) were also included yielding 88 study subjects. IEI was scored with the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) questionnaire. Inflammation was evaluated by blood cell type profiling and cytokine measurements. Disease mechanisms were investigated via gene set variation analysis of RNA from nasal biopsies and peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Nasal biopsy gene expression and plasma cytokine profiles suggested airway and systemic inflammation in asthma without exposure to dampness (AND). Similar evidence of inflammation was absent in patients with dampness-and-mold-related asthma (AAD). Gene expression signatures revealed a greater degree of similarity between IEI and dampness-related asthma than between IEI patients and asthma not associated to dampness and mold. Blood cell transcriptome of IEI subjects showed strong suppression of immune cell activation, migration, and movement. QEESI scores correlated to blood cell gene expression of all study subjects. Transcriptomic analysis revealed clear pathomechanisms for AND but not AAD patients. Furthermore, we found a distinct molecular pathological profile in nasal and blood immune cells of IEI subjects, including several differentially expressed genes that were also identified in AAD samples, suggesting IEI-type mechanisms. View Full-Text
Keywords: adult-onset asthma; building dampness and molds; endotypes; environmental intolerance; transcriptomics; pathobiological mechanisms adult-onset asthma; building dampness and molds; endotypes; environmental intolerance; transcriptomics; pathobiological mechanisms
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MDPI and ACS Style

Suojalehto, H.; Ndika, J.; Lindström, I.; Airaksinen, L.; Karvala, K.; Kauppi, P.; Lauerma, A.; Toppila-Salmi, S.; Karisola, P.; Alenius, H. Transcriptomic Profiling of Adult-Onset Asthma Related to Damp and Moldy Buildings and Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 10679. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910679

AMA Style

Suojalehto H, Ndika J, Lindström I, Airaksinen L, Karvala K, Kauppi P, Lauerma A, Toppila-Salmi S, Karisola P, Alenius H. Transcriptomic Profiling of Adult-Onset Asthma Related to Damp and Moldy Buildings and Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(19):10679. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910679

Chicago/Turabian Style

Suojalehto, Hille, Joseph Ndika, Irmeli Lindström, Liisa Airaksinen, Kirsi Karvala, Paula Kauppi, Antti Lauerma, Sanna Toppila-Salmi, Piia Karisola, and Harri Alenius. 2021. "Transcriptomic Profiling of Adult-Onset Asthma Related to Damp and Moldy Buildings and Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 19: 10679. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910679

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