Asthma Causes may be all Around you

Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes inflammation

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Dust, pets, cockroaches and mice have been labeled culprits when it comes to asthma. It turns out a common environmental bacteria may also play a role.

A common environmental bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, may be linked to inflammation by possibly increasing histamine production.

The increased inflammation caused by an allergic reaction to Pseudomonas aeruginosa may cause asthma symptoms. This discovery can possibly pave the way to new treatments and a better understanding of what causes asthma.

"Ask your doctor about new allergy tests."

The study was led by George Caughey, M.D., from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of California in San Francisco. Researchers tested two strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa on white blood cells of mice.

These white blood cells, neutrophils, were supposed to kill the bacteria strains and are not normally associated with inflammation. Instead, one strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa killed neutrophils while another strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa caused the neutrophils to significantly increase histamine production.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa can be found pretty much anywhere including on the skin, in the soil, in water or on any surface. It can cause infection in humans with a compromised immune system.

Researchers then infected mice with the histamine producing strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The mice developed bronchitis and pneumonia. The mice also had increased levels of histamine in the lungs.

The Pseudomonas aeruginosa was shown to stimulate the neutrophils into producing significantly more histamine than what is considered normal.

The increased levels of histamine can lead to inflammation. This inflammation can then trigger asthma symptoms which would mean scientists now have to consider Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a possible allergen for asthma.

Future studies can examine the effect of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in humans. There is still a lot to learn about asthma and allergies and this discovery that a common bacteria can lead to increased histamine production and inflammation proves just that.

New information and discovering possible mechanisms for asthma and allergies will lead to better treatments and management of asthma.  

No funding information was provided. No author conflicts were reported. This study was published in the February edition of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

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Review Date: 
February 1, 2012
Last Updated:
February 2, 2012