Quantitative PCR analysis of fungal DNA in European classrooms and association with respiratory health and pulmonary function in children (HESE study)

Marzia Simoni, G.-H. Cai, Dan Norback, Isabella Annesi-Maesano, Torben Sigsgaard, Gunilla Wieslander, Wenche Nystad, Mario Canciani, Giovanni Viegi, Piersante Sestini.

Author address: 

Pulmonary Environmental Epidemiology Unit, CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa, Italy 2Department of Medical Sciences, SE-75185, Universityof Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden 3INSERM & UPMC, EPAR, Paris, France 4School of Public Health, University of


Aim: To assess how indoor moulds confirmed by fungal DNA can affect respiratory health and pulmonary function in school-children. Methods: Measurements of fungal DNA (f-DNA) were performed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in classrooms attended by 616 schoolchildren (mean age 10yrs) of Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and France (EU-funded HESE Study, Health Effects of School Environment). Presence of recent wheeze, dry cough by night, rhinitis, and chronic cough was assessed through questionnaire. A subsample of 173 children performed pulmonary tests. Results: The highest mean concentrations of total f-DNA were found in France and Norway (geometric mean 5.51 and 4.19 x 105 CE/g dust, respectively, versus about 1.6 x 105 in other countries). Levels of f-DNA were significantly higher in classrooms with signs of dampness/mold, mold odor, and natural ventilation. In general, increased exposure to f-DNA was positively related to higher prevalence of all symptoms/diseases (in a dose dependent manner), and significantly related to a decrement of pulmonary function independent from type of fungi. The strongest associations were observed between Aspergillus Versicolor and wheeze (p

abstract No: 


Full conference title: 

20th European Respiratory Society conference
    • ERS 20th (2010)