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Systematic Review

Nature Exposure and Its Effects on Immune System Functioning: A Systematic Review

Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
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Academic Editors: Francesco Meneguzzo and Federica Zabini
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1416; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041416
Received: 9 January 2021 / Revised: 26 January 2021 / Accepted: 29 January 2021 / Published: 3 February 2021
Given the drastic changes in our lifestyles and ecosystems worldwide, the potential health effects of natural environments have grown into a highly pervasive topic. Recent scientific findings suggest beneficial effects from nature exposure on human immune responses. This review aims at providing a comprehensive overview of literature published on immunomodulatory effects of nature exposure by inhalation of natural substances. A systematic database search was performed in SCOPUS and PubMed. The quality and potential bias of included studies (n = 33) were assessed by applying the EPHPP (Effective Public Health Practice Project) tool for human studies and the ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) and SYRCLE (Systematic Review Centre for Laboratory Animal Experimentation) tools for animal studies. The synthesis of reviewed studies points to positive effects of nature exposure on immunological health parameters; such as anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-asthmatic effects or increased NK (natural killer) cell activity. Decreased expression of pro-inflammatory molecules, infiltration of leukocytes and release of cytotoxic mediators are outcomes that may serve as a baseline for further studies. However, partially weak study designs evoked uncertainties about outcome reproducibility and key questions remain open concerning effect sizes, duration of exposure and contributions of specific vegetation or ecosystem types. View Full-Text
Keywords: BVOCs; forest bathing; green-blue space; human health; immune system; inflammation; inhalation; natural environments; NK cells; terpenes BVOCs; forest bathing; green-blue space; human health; immune system; inflammation; inhalation; natural environments; NK cells; terpenes
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MDPI and ACS Style

Andersen, L.; Corazon, S.S.; Stigsdotter, U.K. Nature Exposure and Its Effects on Immune System Functioning: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 1416. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041416

AMA Style

Andersen L, Corazon SS, Stigsdotter UK. Nature Exposure and Its Effects on Immune System Functioning: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(4):1416. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041416

Chicago/Turabian Style

Andersen, Liisa; Corazon, Sus S.; Stigsdotter, Ulrika K. 2021. "Nature Exposure and Its Effects on Immune System Functioning: A Systematic Review" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 18, no. 4: 1416. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041416

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