Fungal diversity in homes and asthma morbidity among school-age children in New York City

Samuel J. Cochran, Luis Acosta, Adnan Divjan, Angela R. Lemons, Andrew G. Rundle, Rachel L. Miller, Edward Sobek, Brett J. Green, Matthew S. Perzanowski, Karen C. Dannemiller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Asthma development has been inversely associated with exposure to fungal diversity. However, the influence of fungi on measures of asthma morbidity is not well understood. Objectives: This study aimed to test the hypothesis that fungal diversity is inversely associated with neighborhood asthma prevalence and identify specific fungal species associated with asthma morbidity. Methods: Children aged 7–8 years (n = 347) living in higher (11–18%) and lower (3–9%) asthma prevalence neighborhoods were recruited within an asthma case-control study. Fungal communities were analyzed from floor dust using high-throughput DNA sequencing. A subset of asthmatic children (n = 140) was followed to age 10–11 to determine asthma persistence. Results: Neighborhood asthma prevalence was inversely associated with fungal species richness (P = 0.010) and Shannon diversity (P = 0.059). Associations between neighborhood asthma prevalence and diversity indices were driven by differences in building type and presence of bedroom carpet. Among children with asthma at age 7–8 years, Shannon fungal diversity was inversely associated with frequent asthma symptoms at that age (OR 0.57, P = 0.025) and with asthma persistence to age 10–11 (OR 0.48, P = 0.043). Analyses of individual fungal species did not show significant associations with asthma outcomes when adjusted for false discovery rates. Discussion: Lower fungal diversity was associated with asthma symptoms in this urban setting. Individual fungal species associated with asthma morbidity were not detected. Further research is warranted into building type, carpeting, and other environmental characteristics which influence fungal exposures in homes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117296
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2023


  • Asthma
  • Built-environment
  • DNA
  • Fungi
  • House-dust
  • Mycobiome


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