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High levels of ozone aggravate allergies. Pollution could trigger more and more allergies.
(Aug 23, 2010) As can be learned from a scientific study, high ozone values also make allergies worse. The high ozone value also increases the allergen content of the plant, which increases the symptoms of an allergy at the same time. In addition, far more people could be affected by allergies if ozone levels rise.
Researchers from the Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna report in the current issue of the journal "Journal of Allergy Cilinical Immunology" that high ozone levels not only strain the throat and airways, but also increase the allergen content of plants. If the ozone value in the air has increased, the allergen content in plants also increases, as researchers around the study leader Rudolf Valenta observed in a study. A connection between pollution and the increase in allergies has now been demonstrated.
During the course of the study, the researchers had grown rye varieties in the laboratory that were heavily contaminated with ozone. The ozone value was 79 parts of ozone per billion air particles. This roughly corresponds to the peak values of ozone pollution on very hot summer days. For comparison, the experiment was repeated again later and two rye plants were grown with an average normal ozone load. Here the value was 22 parts per billion particles of air. In a direct comparison of the test arrangements, the Viennese scientists found that the rye varieties with the high ozone load showed an increase in allergen and protein.
In the further course of the experiment, the protein extracts of the plant were combined with antibodies from the human immune system of patients with allergies. It was shown that the extracts reacted more strongly to the IgE antibodies responsible for allergies than the plants which grew up under a low ozone load. The plants from the first group were thus clearly more allergenic, as the researchers report. It was also shown that the plants not only aggravate the symptoms of allergy patients, but also trigger an increase in allergies in humans with a high ozone concentration.
Patients with a pollen allergy colloquially suffer from hay fever, which is accompanied by swelling of the nasal mucous membranes, sneezing fits and conjunctivitis of the eyes. Above all, the accompanying itching sensation is painful for patients, and there is often the feeling of being tired and tired. (sb)
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Image: Oliver Haja / pixelio.de.