To demonstrate a dose-dependent relationship between severity of indoor visible mold growth and serum total IgE levels of resident children. A total of 97 children (4-7 years old) identified from previously established birth-cohort, with information pertaining to indoor environmental conditions after child's birth, were successfully recruited while sera were concurrently collected for total IgE and specific IgE analysis during clinical visits. Severity of visible mold growth at homes was scaled into three levels accordingly. A statistically significant dose-dependent relationship was found between severity of indoor visible mold growth and total serum IgE levels. The trend sustains after the model was adjusted for resident child's age, gender, pet-keeping history, number of siblings, atopic history of parents, presence of incense burning, and environmental tobacco smoking (ETS) at home. Further analysis of specific IgE to commonly examined fungal allergens did not substantiate the correlation. Rather, resident child's specific IgE to mite allergens, although without statistical significance, seemed to better associate with the ranked severity of indoor mold growth in this study. An adjuvant role of fungal exposure to enhance sensitization in indoor environment is therefore suggested in Taiwanese population with high prevalence of building dampness. Practical Implications: The presence of indoor visible mold growth, potentially resulting in fungal exposure, was not associated directly with changing biomarker levels of allergic response in resident children, rather playing an adjuvant role to enhance sensitization. On the other hand, other allergens, such as mite allergen examined in this study, appeared to support a more plausible etiology for directly triggering the ultimate allergic symptoms and diseases of interest. Evidence as such may derive different priority-setting when designing preventive measures for managing indoor air quality.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Building and Construction
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health