BOSTON, June 25 (UPI) -- Mold in the home raises risks of severe attacks for some asthma patients, a U.S. researcher suggests.
Ann Wu of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute in Boston said exposure to high levels of mold may increase the risk of severe asthma attacks among people with certain chitinase gene -- CHIT1 -- variants.
Wu explained the presence of chitinases -- enzymes that break down chitin found in the cell walls of mold -- could be signaling inflammation.
"Our results support increasing evidence that CHIT1, which is primarily released in the lung, plays an important role in the pathophysiology of asthma in the proper environmental context of exposure to chitin, which was approximated by mold levels," Wu said in a statement.
The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, was based on data from the Childhood Asthma Management Program -- a multi-center trial of mild to moderate persistent asthma patients between the ages of 5-12. Home mold was measured. Homes were classified as having greater or less than 25,000 mold colonies per gram of household dust.