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Rev Mal Respir. 2007 May;24(5):599-608.

[Environmental factors for asthma severity and allergy: results from the EGEA study].

[Article in French]

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Inserm, U823, Institut Albert Bonniot, Grenoble, France.



EGEA (Epidemiological study on the genetics and environment of asthma, bronchial hyperresponsiveness and atopy), a case control and family study including 2048 individuals, was initiated to look for environmental and genetic risk factors for asthma. A synthesis of the results obtained since 2002 on phenotypic and environmental aspects of asthma severity and allergy are presented in this article.


The results support a role for hormonal factors in asthma severity and in various allergic markers of asthma. A greater body mass index was related to a more severe asthma in women with early menarche. Associations between markers of allergy (eosinophils, IgE and atopy) and hormonal dependent events in women (premenstrual asthma, menopause and oral contraceptive use) have been found. In asthmatics, exposure to agents known to be associated with occupational asthma, active and passive smoking were associated with an increased clinical asthma severity score. The study underlines the protective role of country living and exposure to pets in early life on allergy markers in adulthood, supporting the hygiene hypothesis.


New hypothesis will be tested in the near future from the second stage of this survey.

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