Inhaled environmental allergens and toxicants as determinants of the asthma phenotype

Kristin Sokol, Sanjiv Sur, Bill T. Ameredes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


The driving environmental factors behind the development of the asthma phenotype remain incompletely studied and understood. Here, we present an overview of inhaled allergic/atopic and mainly nonallergic/nonatopic or toxicant shapers of the asthma phenotype, which are present in both the indoor and outdoor environment around us. The inhaled allergic/atopic factors include fungus, mold, animal dander, cockroach, dust mites, and pollen; these allergic triggers and shapers of the asthma phenotype are considered in the context of their ability to drive the immunologic IgE response and potentially induce interactions between the innate and adaptive immune responses, with special emphasis on the NADPH-dependent reactive oxygen-species-associated mechanism of pollen-associated allergy induction. The inhaled nonallergic/nonatopic, toxicant factors include gaseous and volatile agents, such as sulfur dioxide, ozone, acrolein, and butadiene, as well as particulate agents, such as rubber tire breakdown particles, and diesel exhaust particles. These toxicants are reviewed in terms of their relevant chemical characteristics and hazard potential, ability to induce airway dysfunction, and potential for driving the asthma phenotype. Special emphasis is placed on their interactive nature with other triggers and drivers, with regard to driving the asthma phenotype. Overall, both allergic and nonallergic environmental factors can interact to acutely exacerbate the asthma phenotype; some may also promote its development over prolonged periods of untreated exposure, or possibly indirectly through effects on the genome. Further therapeutic considerations should be given to these environmental factors when determining the best course of personalized medicine for individuals with asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHeterogeneity in Asthma
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)9781461486022
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598


  • Acrolein
  • Adaptive immunity
  • Butadiene
  • Diesel exhaust particles
  • Dust mites
  • Innate immunity
  • Nadph oxidase
  • Ozone
  • Ragweed pollen
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Tire breakdown particles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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