Endotoxin clustering with allergens in house dust and asthma outcomes in a U.S. national study

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Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Angelico Mendy
Jesse Wilkerson
Paivi M. Salo
Darryl C. Zeldin
Peter S. Thorne
Journal Title: 
Environmental Health


Endotoxin is ubiquitous in the environment, but its clustering with indoor allergens is not well characterized. This study examined the clustering patterns of endotoxin with allergens in house dust and their association with asthma outcomes.


We analyzed data from 6963 participants of the 2005–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. House dust sampled from bedroom floor and bedding was evaluated for endotoxin and allergens from fungi, cockroach, dog, cat, mites, and rodents. Two-step cluster analysis and logistic regressions were performed to identify the clustering patterns and their associations with current asthma and wheeze in the past 12 months, adjusting for covariates.


Of the homes, 17.8% had low endotoxin and allergen levels in house dust (Cluster 1). High endotoxin level clustered with Alternaria and pet allergens in the homes of participants with a high socioeconomic status who own pets (Cluster 2) (48.9%). High endotoxin clustered with Aspergillus, dust mites, cockroach, and rodent allergens in the homes of participants with low socioeconomic status (Cluster 3) (33.3%). Compared to Cluster 1, Cluster 2 was associated with higher asthma prevalence (OR 1.42, 95% CI: 1.06–1.91) and wheeze (OR 1.32, 95% CI: 1.07–1.63). Cluster 3 was positively associated with wheeze only in participants sensitized to inhalant allergens (OR 1.42, 95% CI: 1.06–1.91) or exposed to tobacco smoke (OR 1.72, 95% CI: 1.15–2.60).


The clustering of endotoxin with allergens in dust from homes with pets or of people with low socioeconomic status is associated with asthma and wheeze.


Mendy, A., Wilkerson, J., Salo, P. M., Zeldin, D. C., & Thorne, P. S. (2020). Endotoxin clustering with allergens in house dust and asthma outcomes in a US national study. Environmental Health, 19(1), 1-10. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12940-020-00585-y