Determinants of stimulated peripheral blood cytokine production among farming women

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Farming environment and environmental exposure to microbial agents have been suggested to promote favorable development of immune system in children and protect against allergic diseases. However, effects of farm exposure on adult immune responses are less clear. Aim of the present study was to examine associations of farm related factors and measured microbial exposure with stimulated production of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) in peripheral blood samples among farming women. Whole peripheral blood samples were obtained from 112 women living on farms and stimulated with phorbol myristate acetate/ionomycin, lipopolysaccharide and staphylococcal enterotoxin B. Following 24 h stimulation, protein levels of IFN-gamma and IL-4 in the supernatants were measured by ELISA. From house dust, concentrations of 3-hydroxy fatty acids (C10:0-C14:0, marker for Gram-negative bacteria), muramic acid (Gram-positive bacteria) and ergosterol (fungal biomass) were analyzed with GC-MS/MS and viable microbes by culturing. Information on farm related factors and allergic diseases were collected from self-administered questionnaires. We found that household pets or other current or childhood farm-related factors had only few associations with stimulated cytokine production among studied farming women. Similarly, no strong associations were observed between markers of microbial exposure measured in house dust and cytokine levels. Atopic sensitization, allergic rhinitis and recent respiratory infections were, however, associated with reduced IFN-gamma production. Our results suggest that the capacity of the studied environmental factors to modulate immune system is relatively weak in adulthood. (C) 2011 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


  • Jussi Lampi
  • Marjut Roponen
  • Anne Hyvarinen
  • Maija-Riitta Hirvonen
  • Lennart Larsson
  • Aino Nevalainen
  • Juha Pekkanen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


  • Farming, House dust, Interferon-gamma, Interleukin-4, Microbes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-209
JournalInternational Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch