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Arh Hig Rada Toksikol. 2012 Dec;63(4):545-9. doi: 10.2478/10004-1254-63-2012-2221.

Adverse health effects of indoor moulds.

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  • 1Slovak Medical University, Bratislava, Slovakia.


Building associated illnesses - sick building syndrome (SBS) as a common example - are associated with staying in buildings with poor indoor air quality. The importance of indoor fungal growth in this phenomenon continues to be evident, even though no causative relation has been established so far. Indoor humidity is strongly associated with the symptoms of SBS. Fungal metabolites that may induce ill health in susceptible occupants comprise beta-D-glucan, mycotoxins, and volatile organic compounds as known irritants and/or immunomodulators. Indoor toxic fungal metabolites might be located in micromycetal propagules (endometabolites), in (bio-)aerosol, detritus, and house dust (exometabolites) as their particular carriers. It is highly probable that hyphal fragments, dust, and particles able to reach the alveoli have the strongest depository and toxic potential. Most fungal spores are entrapped by the upper respiratory tract and do not reach further than the bronchi because of their size, morphology, and the mode of propagation (such as slime heads and aggreggation). This is why studies of the toxic effects of fungal spores prefer directly applying metabolite mixtures over mimicking real exposure. Chronic low-level exposure to a mixture of fungal toxicants and other indoor stressors may have synergistic effects and lead to severe neuroendocrineimmune changes.

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