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What affects the severity of allergic reactions – healing practice



Ambrosia: the origin and the environment influence the aggressiveness of the pollen

More than 33 million people in Europe suffer from Ragweed allergy. Even small amounts of ragweed pollen can cause serious allergic symptoms such as asthma trigger. Researchers now report that the place of origin and the environment the aggressiveness the pollen influence.

The origin of ragweed pollen from different geographic and climatic regions, as well as the level of pollution, can affect the severity of allergic reactions such as hay fever and asthma, according to a new study. For example, pollen from plants from different regions show different levels of aggressiveness. The results of the study were published in the journal “Frontiers in allergy“published.

Even small amounts of pollen are enough for an allergic reaction

The interuniversity study team, led by the Medical University (MedUni) of Vienna and involving the University of Vienna and the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, developed an allergy model in which of the mice were exposed to pollen from Ragweed plants (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) collected in different geographical regions.

As in a Message A small amount of pollen (a total of 180 pollen grains) has been shown to be sufficient to trigger an allergic reaction, far less than the high concentrations of pollen found in the air during the seasonal flowering period.

Due to climate change, the apogee in Europe and the plant can spread to more northern regions. But the regional origin of the pollen also determines the severity of the allergic reaction.

Changes in aggressiveness due to environmental influences

“Our study shows that pollen from different environments can be differently aggressive”explains lead researcher and coordinator of the “Atopica” project, Michelle Epstein of MedUni Vienna.

“Thus, not only pollen concentrations in the air, but also intrinsic (indoor) changes related to the environment could sensitization capacity alter the pollen and aggravate allergic symptoms.

The professor involved in the study at the Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Vienna, Wolfram Weckwerth, says: “We now know that the aggressiveness of pollen changes due to environmental influences. The next steps are further characterization of pollen, particularly at the molecular level, to unequivocally identify the composition of allergenic components.

And Anke Bellaire, who works in the Department of Structural and Functional Botany at the Institute of Botany and Biodiversity at the University of Vienna and is also one of the authors, explains that the researchers characterization wish to pursue the ultrastructural subcellular analysis of ragweed pollen.

effects of climate change

According to Gerhard Karrer, professor of botany at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, who was part of the team that collected the pollen in Austria, controlling ragweed is a major public health concern. and an adaptation strategy to contain and manage the impacts. virus climate change.

The impact of climate change and others environmental factors According to scientists, it is very likely that it also includes a number of other pollen-producing plants. This applied research model now offers a strategy for further studies examining the effects of climate change on pollen allergy.

Very allergenic plant

As explained in the press release, ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is a very allergenic plant whose pollen contributes to people sensitized causes hay fever and can lead to asthma.

currently suffering from 33 million Europeans with such an allergy. Researchers predict an increase to 77 million cases by 2060 due to climate change.

Ambrosia season begins in August and lasts through the fall. With the global warming however, as the season lengthens and warmer temperatures cause these plants to grow in more northern regions and at higher elevations.

A single plant can grow about a billion per season pollen grain produce, which can then travel more than a thousand kilometers in the wind.

The results of these studies are intended to Ragweed Warnings and regulations to prevent allergies are leading the way. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


  • Medical University of Vienna: Ragweed allergy: place of origin and environment influence pollen aggressiveness, (Accessed: August 15, 2022), medical university of vienna
  • Shu-Hua Liu, Sahar Kazemi, Gerhard Karrer, Anke Bellaire, Wolfram Weckwerth, Jakob Damkjaer, Oskar Hoffmann & Michelle M. Epstein: Influence of environment on ragweed pollen and their sensitizing ability in a mouse model of allergic lung inflammation; in: Frontiers in Allergy, (published: 2022-08-05), Frontiers in allergy

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.

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