Health & Wellness Blog


Germ Exposure at Early Ages can Help Boost Immunity?

A recent study on mice has shown a correlation in kids who are exposed to germs in their early ages are more likely to have a stronger immunity and resistance to diseases. The immune system boost therefore means that kids exposed to germs are less susceptible to health complications and allergies, such as colitis and asthma. These details are according to a research carried out on March 22, 2012 by the Women's hospital located in Boston.Kids exposed to germs may have healthier, stronger immunity as they grow older

According to the contradicting hygiene hypothesis, exposure to microbes in the early life of a child significantly suppresses the immune system and therefore puts them at a greater risk of being affected by different types of diseases. The new study supports this whole idea and more so expounds on it so that you can better appreciate the relationship that exists between the immune system and the disease causing microbes. The researchers warn that the results of this research might not apply to each and every person mainly because the research was conducted using mice as the specimen.

Senior authors led this study from both the Women's Hospital and Brigham. Dr. Dennis Kasper is the director of the Channing laboratory of the Women's Hospital while Dr. Richard Blumberg is the senior manager at the Gastroenterology department at BWH. These two and their colleagues studied mice which are bred in more sterile environments without them being exposed to any germs and pathogen free mice that were raised in the normal controlled environment in the laboratory.

They then bred the two types of mice so as to develop asthma and bowel disease and then compared the two immune systems. They came to realize that the germ free mice developed more of invariant killer cells mainly in their lungs and bowel and therefore developed critical disease symptoms. In that case, the germ free mice cells accumulated and then increased morbidity in IBD models and asthma as compared to the specific pathogen free mice.

The germ free mice developed the so called iNKT cells which play a role in helping to fight infections but on the other hand can fight the body tissues. This therefore makes the germ free mice more susceptible to diseases and infections. This research also shows that exposure of germ free mice to germs did not lead to any noticeable development of the iNKT cells and more so these mice did not really develop severe symptoms that were seen in the other mice which were kept more germs free. It also proved that even by leaving the germ free mice in that state, they might not experience any kind of strange effects.

The conclusion after this study is that the best effects would only be realized if the mice were more of exposed before their adulthood. This is where the basis of having kids exposed to germs in their early days to develop immunity comes from. The germ free mice on the other hand were exposed to more germs in their early life and thus they developed immunity. The aim of the study was to show the importance of microbes and why exposure in early days in life might help to boost the immune system. The research is also intended to act as a basis for the understanding of the increase allergic reactions and autoimmune diseases mainly in the urban areas.


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