• Katrina A. Lambert, Iana Markevych, Bo-Yi Yang, Carl-Peter Bauer, Dietrich Berdel, Andrea von Berg, Karl-Christian Bergmann, Caroline Lodge, Sibylle Koletzko, Luke A. Prendergast, Tamara Schikowski, Holger Schulz, Matthias Werchan, Joachim Heinrich, Marie Standl, Bircan Erbas. Association of early life and acute pollen exposure with lung function and exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO). A prospective study up to adolescence in the GINIplus and LISA cohort, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 763, 2021, 143006, ISSN 0048-9697, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143006.

- Abstract: Background: Pollen exposure has both acute and chronic detrimental effects on allergic asthma, but little is known about its wider effects on respiratory health. This is increasingly important knowledge as ambient pollen levels are changing with the changing global climate. Objective: To assess associations of pollen exposure with lung function and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) at age 15 in two prospective German birth cohorts, GINIplus and LISA. Methods: Background city-specific pollen exposure was measured in infancy (during the first three months of life), and contemporary (on the day of and 7 days prior to lung function measurement). Greenness levels within circular buffers (100–3000 m) around the birth and 15-year home addresses were calculated using the satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. Regression models were used to assess the associations of grass and birch pollen with lung function and FeNO, and the modifying effects of residential greenness were explored. Results: Cumulative early life exposure to grass pollen was associated with reduced lung function in adolescence (FEV1: -4.9 mL 95%CI: -9.2, -0.6 and FVC: -5.2 mL 95%CI: -9.8, -0.5 per doubling of pollen count). Acute grass pollen exposure was associated with increased airway inflammation in all children, with higher FeNO increases in children living in green areas. In contrast acute birch pollen exposure was associated with reduced lung function only in children sensitised to birch allergens. Conclusion: This study provides suggestive evidence that early pollen exposure has a negative effect on later lung function, which is in turn influenced by acute pollen exposures.

  • Bergmann K.-C., Buters J., Karatzas K., Tasioulis T., Werchan B., Werchan M., Pfaar O. (2020). The development of birch pollen seasons over 30 years in Munich, Germany—An EAACI Task Force report. Allergy. 75. 10.1111/all.14470. https://doi.org/10.1111/all.14470
  • Bergmann K-C., Zuberbier J., Zuberbier T., Zapp J. & Hennebrüder W. (2020) Apfelallergie – Toleranzentwicklung durch regelmäßigen Konsum allergenarmer Äpfel. Eine BeobachtungsstudieErwerbs-Obstbau 62, 267–273. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10341-020-00492-z

- Abstract: Das pollenassoziierte Orale Allergie-Syndrom (OAS) ist eine Sonderform der IgE-vermittelten Nahrungsmittelallergien. Besonders bei Birkenpollenallergikern kommt es aufgrund der Ähnlichkeit der Epitope des Apfelallergens Mal d 1 und dem Birkenpollenallergen Bet v 1 häufig zu einer sog. Kreuzreaktion beim Essen handelsüblicher Supermarktäpfel. In einer prospektiven Kohortenstudie mit einem offenen Studiendesign wurde untersucht, ob eine Toleranzentwicklung bei „Apfelallergikern“ durch den regelmäßigen Konsum allergenarmer Äpfel erreicht werden kann. Hierzu wurde die Ausprägung oraler Symptome nach dem Essen einer Frucht der Sorte ‘Golden Delicious‘ vor und nach dem täglichen Konsum eines allergenarmen Apfels über 90 Tage untersucht. Die Probanden zeigten signifikant geringere Symptome beim Essen des ‘Golden Delicious‘ nach dem regelmäßigen Verzehr der allergenarmen Äpfel alter Sorten. Es erscheint möglich, durch den regelmäßigen Verzehr von Äpfeln alter Sorten mit geringerem Allergengehalt eine orale Toleranz gegenüber hochallergenen Äpfeln zu erreichen.


  • Beutner, C., Werchan, B., Forkel, S., Gupta, S., Fuchs, T., Schön, M.P., Geier, J. and Buhl, T. (2020), Sensitization rates to common inhaled allergens in Germany – increase and change patterns over the last 20 years. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddg.14312

  - Abstract: Background: Sensitization rates to aeroallergens are rising worldwide. The prevalence is increasing, especially in Western countries. We aimed to investigate (1) sensitization rates and (2) cross-sensitization patterns in skin prick tests (SPTs) for the most relevant inhaled allergens in central Germany over 20 years, adjusted for regional pollen counts. Patients and Methods: This monocentric study evaluated SPTs for tree pollen, grass pollen and house dust mites (HDMs) in 4,315 patients (including children) with suspected airway allergies, from 1998–2017. Results: Sensitization rates to almost all aeroallergens have increased significantly over time, without relevant changes in regional pollen counts. Current sensitization rates in all our symptomatic patients were highest for grass (55.3 %) and rye pollen (59.6 %), with most pronounced increases in HDM sensitization over time (from 37.8 % to the current figure of 50.1 %). However, a low but consistent proportion of tree-sensitized patients (3.6–7.8 %) showed isolated positive SPTs to alder and/or hazel pollen without sensitization to birch pollen. Conclusions: We demonstrate a significant rise in the total number of sensitized patients as well as increases in cross-sensitization between closely related allergens. Individuals with unusual mono-sensitization profiles to common inhaled allergens should be studied in more detail, since these patients are currently excluded from clinical trials for allergen immunotherapy.


  • R. Baeker, K.-C. Bergmann, J. Buters, T. Dümmel, C. Endler, T. Fuchs, S. Gilge, K. Gloyna, R. Heesen, C. Herr, M. Hicke, C. Höflich, L. Klimek, S. Kutzora, M. Langner, H.-G. Mücke, G. Petzold, S. Pleschka, S. Röseler, A. Schwalfenberg, S. Simon, W. Straff, A. Weber, B. Werchan, M. Werchan. (2020) Perspektiven für ein bundesweites Pollenmonitoring in Deutschland – Fachübergreifender Arbeitskreis „Bundesweites Pollenmonitoring“ https://doi.org/10.1007/s00103-019-02940-y

- Abstract: Allergene Pollen sind natürliche, biologische luftgetragene Partikel und der Hauptauslöser allergischer Atemwegserkrankungen. Die Messung allergener Pollen ist Voraussetzung für die gesundheitliche Vorsorge und zeigt Veränderungen im Pollenspektrum an, wie sie zum Beispiel im Rahmen des Klimawandels zu erwarten sind. Das in Deutschland einzige bundesweite Pollenmessnetz wird durch die Stiftung Deutscher Polleninformationsdienst (PID) betrieben. Fortbestand und Weiterentwicklung (u. a. Hybrid-System aus manuellen und automatischen Pollenfallen) dieses Messnetzes sind finanziell jedoch nicht gesichert. Im Sommer 2017 formierte sich daher der fachübergreifende Arbeitskreis „Bundesweites Pollenmonitoring“, um sich über diesbezügliche Perspektiven für Deutschland auszutauschen. Für den Austausch kam der Arbeitskreis zwischen November 2017 und Juni 2018 zu 3 Gesprächstagen mit jeweils unterschiedlichen Themenschwerpunkten zusammen. Die internen Protokolle zu den Gesprächstagen bildeten anschließend die Grundlage für die Erstellung des vorliegenden Positionspapiers, mit dem der Arbeitskreis seine Arbeit abschließt. Aufgrund der Bedeutung allergener Pollen für die menschliche Gesundheit und allergischer Erkrankungen für das Gesundheitssystem spricht sich der Arbeitskreis dafür aus, das bundesweite Pollenmonitoring in den Katalog staatlicher Aufgaben aufzunehmen, die der grundlegenden Versorgung der Bevölkerung mit wesentlichen Gütern und Dienstleistungen dienen (öffentliche Daseinsvorsorge). Hinsichtlich möglicher Zuständigkeiten im Rahmen der öffentlichen Daseinsvorsorge wurden im Arbeitskreis mehrere Lösungsansätze diskutiert. Unabhängig von der zukünftigen Zuständigkeit kommt der Kooperation von messtechnischen, klinischen und wissenschaftlichen Einrichtungen eine grundsätzliche Bedeutung für die adäquate gesundheitliche Vorsorge zu.

  • Bastl K, Bastl M, Bergmann KC, Berger M, Berger U

Translating the Burden of Pollen Allergy Into Numbers Using Electronically Generated Symptom Data From the Patient’s Hayfever Diary in Austria and Germany: 10-Year Observational Study J Med Internet Res 2020;22(2):e16767

DOI: 10.2196/16767

-Abstract:

Background: Pollen allergies affect a significant proportion of the population globally. At present, Web-based tools such as pollen diaries and mobile apps allow for easy and fast documentation of allergic symptoms via the internet.

Objective: This study aimed to characterize the users of the Patient’s Hayfever Diary (PHD), a Web-based platform and mobile app, to apply different symptom score calculations for comparison, and to evaluate the contribution of organs and medications to the total score for the first time.

Methods: The PHD users were filtered with regard to their location in Austria and Germany, significant positive correlation to the respective pollen type (birch/grass), and at least 15 entries in the respective season. Furthermore, 4 different symptom score calculation methods were applied to the datasets from 2009 until 2018, of which 2 were raw symptom scores and 2 were symptom load index (normalized) calculations. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated pairwise for these 4 symptom score calculations.

Results: Users were mostly male and belonged to the age groups of 21 to 40 years or >40 years. User numbers have increased in the last 5 years, especially when mobile apps were made available. The Pearson correlation coefficients showed a significant linear relationship above 0.9 among the 4 symptom score datasets and thus indicated no significant difference between the different methods of symptom score calculation. The nose contributed the most to the symptom score and determined about 40% of the score.

Conclusions: The exact method of calculation of the symptom score is not critical. All computation methods show the same behavior (increase/decrease during the season). Therefore, the symptom load index is a useful computation method in all fields exploring pollen allergy, and Web-based diaries are a globally applicable tool to monitor the effect of pollen on human health via electronically generated symptom data.



  • Rojo, J.; Oteros, J.; Picornell, A.; Ruëff, F.; Werchan, B.; Werchan, M.; Bergmann, K.-C.; Schmidt-Weber, C.B.; Buters, J. (2020) Land-Use and Height of Pollen Sampling Affect Pollen Exposure in Munich, Germany. Atmosphere, 11, 145. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11020145

-Abstract: Airborne pollen concentrations vary depending on the location of the pollen trap with respect to the pollen sources. Two Hirst-type pollen traps were analyzed within the city of Munich (Germany): one trap was located 2 m above ground level (AGL) and the other one at rooftop (35 m AGL), 4.2 km apart. In general, 1.4 ± 0.5 times higher pollen amounts were measured by the trap located at ground level, but this effect was less than expected considering the height difference between the traps. Pollen from woody trees such as Alnus, Betula, Corylus, Fraxinus, Picea, Pinus and Quercus showed a good agreement between the traps in terms of timing and intensity. Similar amounts of pollen were recorded in the two traps when pollen sources were more abundant outside of the city. In contrast, pollen concentrations from Cupressaceae/Taxaceae, Carpinus and Tilia were influenced by nearby pollen sources. The representativeness of both traps for herbaceous pollen depended on the dispersal capacity of the pollen grains, and in the case of Poaceae pollen, nearby pollen sources may influence the pollen content in the air. The timing of the pollen season was similar for both sites; however, the season for some pollen types ended later at ground level probably due to resuspension processes that would favor recirculation of pollen closer to ground level. We believe measurements from the higher station provides a picture of background pollen levels representative of a large area, to which local sources add additional and more variable pollen amounts.