Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: β-Glucan exacerbates allergic asthma independent of fungal sensitization and promotes steroid-resistant TH2/TH17 responses.

Authors: Zhang, Zhonghua; Biagini Myers, Jocelyn M; Brandt, Eric B; Ryan, Patrick H; Lindsey, Mark; Mintz-Cole, Rachael A; Reponen, Tiina; Vesper, Stephen J; Forde, Frank; Ruff, Brandy; Bass, Stacey A; LeMasters, Grace K; Bernstein, David I; Lockey, James; Budelsky, Alison L; Khurana Hershey, Gurjit K

Published In J Allergy Clin Immunol, (2017 01)

Abstract: Allergic sensitization to fungi has been associated with asthma severity. As a result, it has been largely assumed that the contribution of fungi to allergic disease is mediated through their potent antigenicity.We sought to determine the mechanism by which fungi affect asthma development and severity.We integrated epidemiologic and experimental asthma models to explore the effect of fungal exposure on asthma development and severity.We report that fungal exposure enhances allergen-driven TH2 responses, promoting severe allergic asthma. This effect is independent of fungal sensitization and can be reconstituted with β-glucan and abrogated by neutralization of IL-17A. Furthermore, this severe asthma is resistant to steroids and characterized by mixed TH2 and TH17 responses, including IL-13+IL-17+CD4+ double-producing effector T cells. Steroid resistance is dependent on fungus-induced TH17 responses because steroid sensitivity was restored in IL-17rc-/- mice. Similarly, in children with asthma, fungal exposure was associated with increased serum IL-17A levels and asthma severity.Our data demonstrate that fungi are potent immunomodulators and have powerful effects on asthma independent of their potential to act as antigens. Furthermore, our results provide a strong rationale for combination treatment strategies targeting IL-17A for this subgroup of fungus-exposed patients with difficult-to-treat asthma.

PubMed ID: 27221135 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Air Pollutants/immunology; Allergens/immunology*; Animals; Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use; Antigens, Dermatophagoides/immunology; Asthma/drug therapy; Asthma/epidemiology; Asthma/immunology*; Asthma/pathology; Child; Child, Preschool; Dexamethasone/therapeutic use; Drug Resistance/immunology; Environmental Exposure; Female; Fungi/immunology*; Glucocorticoids/therapeutic use; Humans; Infant; Interleukin-17/blood; Interleukin-17/immunology; Lectins, C-Type/genetics; Lung/drug effects; Lung/immunology; Lung/pathology; Male; Mice, Inbred BALB C; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Mice, Knockout; Prevalence; Receptors, Interleukin/genetics; Th17 Cells/immunology*; Th2 Cells/immunology*; beta-Glucans/immunology*

to Top