Asthma and Aspergillus


Shah A

Date: 26 January 2009


Editorial; no abstract. First paragraph: Inhalant allergens, in patients with allergic asthma, play a key role in bringing about the inflammation present in the airways. Fungi are increasingly being recognized as important inhalant allergens1. Among the fungi, Aspergillus, a genus of spore-forming fungi found worldwide, is linked to asthma in more ways than one. This fungus derives its name from its resemblance to the brush, called an aspergillum, used for sprinkling holy water. Its spores are inhaled by one and all but in the healthy normal individual, they seldom have any effect. However, in the asthmatic subjects, the fungal spores are trapped in the thick and viscid secretions that are usually present in the airways. This generally develops in atopic subjects and is sustained by continuous inhalation of Aspergillus antigens, triggering asthma. The clinical spectrum of Aspergillus-associated hypersensitivity respiratory disorders includes Aspergillus induced asthma, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) and allergic Aspergillus sinusitis (AAS)2. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis too can be caused by Aspergillus, but this is generally seen in non-atopic individuals.

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