Table of Contents
ISRN Allergy
Volume 2013, Article ID 827934, 6 pages
Research Article

Perinatal Pet Exposure, Faecal Microbiota, and Wheezy Bronchitis: Is There a Connection?

1Department of Pediatrics, Turku University Hospital, Kiinamyllynkatu 4-8, 20520 Turku, Finland
2Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
3Functional Foods Forum, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
4Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland

Received 22 November 2012; Accepted 11 December 2012

Academic Editors: B. F. Gibbs, A. Lorentz, and T. A. Popov

Copyright © 2013 Merja Nermes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The hygiene hypothesis suggests that high hygiene standards have led to an immune dysfunction and an increase in allergic diseases. Farming-related exposures are associated with a decreased risk of asthma. Since the gut microbiota may be a pivotal component in the hygiene hypothesis, we studied whether perinatal exposure to pets, doctor's diagnosed wheezy bronchitis (WB), and compositional changes in the gut microbiota are interrelated among urban infants. Methods. Data were collected prospectively from a mother-infant nutrition study. Data on perinatal pet ownership, WB, and the microbiota composition of faecal samples of the infants assessed by quantitative PCR at 1 month were compared. Results. None of the 30 infants exposed to pets had suffered from WB by 24 months, whereas 15 of the 99 (15%) nonexposed infants had had WB ( ). The counts of Bifidobacterium longum were higher in samples ( ) from nonwheezing infants with pet exposure compared to those ( ) in wheezing infants without pet exposure (8.59/10.44 versus 5.94/9.86, resp. (median/upper limit of range, bacteria(log)/g of stool); ). B. breve was more abundant in the wheezing infants ( ).