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Annual Change in Fungal Concentrations and Allergic Sensitization Rates to Alternaria and Cladosporium in Korea During the Period 1998-2022

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Choi, Young-Jin; Lee, Kyung-Suk; Jeong, Jin Hyeok; Kim, Kyunghoon; Yang, Seung; Na, Jae Yoon; Hwang, Jae Kyoon; Choe, Yunsoo; Kim, Kyu Rang; Han, Mae-Ja; Lee, Yung-Seop; Oh, Jae-Won

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Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research, Vol.15 No.6, pp.825-836
Purpose: Atmospheric fungi are associated with respiratory allergies in humans, and some fungal spores can cause allergic diseases. Environmental and biological factors influence the concentrations of atmospheric spores. In this study, we evaluated the climate change-induced annual variations in fungal spore concentrations and allergic sensitization rates in the Seoul Metropolitan Area over a period of 25 years.Methods: Fungal spores and pollen were obtained from Hanyang University Seoul and Guri Hospitals; they were identified and counted for 25 years (1998-2022). The study participants included patients who underwent tests for allergic diseases in both hospitals. Their allergenic sensitization rates were determined via allergic skin prick and serum tests, after which their sensitization rates to allergenic fungi and pollens were calculated. The daily climatic variables were obtained from the Korea Meteorological Administration.Results: The total annual atmospheric fungal concentrations decreased in both areas during the period. Simultaneously, we recruited 21,394 patients with allergies (asthma, 1,550; allergic rhinitis, 5,983; and atopic dermatitis, 5,422) from Seoul and Guri Hospitals for allergenic fungal sensitization evaluations over the period. The allergenic fungal sensitization rates decreased annually in both areas over that time `+(Alternaria [3.5%] and Cladosporium [4.4%] in 1998; Alternaria [0.2%] and Cladosporium [0.2%] in 2022). In contrast, the annual pollen concentrations increased with the sensitization rates to pollen in children.Conclusions: The atmospheric fungal concentrations decreased annually, with allergic sensitization rate decreasing over the period of 25 years. Allergenic fungal sporulation could decrease with climate changes, such as desertification and drought. Extended monitoring periods and further large-scale studies are required to confirm the causality and to evaluate the impact of climate change.
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Research Area 식품알레르기, 아토피피부염, 천식


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