Exposure to a widespread outdoor fungus can increase cell damage (oxidative stress) in the airways, research shows. This spike weakens the airways’ barrier defense system that, when functioning normally, removes infection- and allergy-causing organisms. Alternaria alternata is a fungus that produces spores in the dry, warm weather of late summer and early fall. Previous studies have found that Alternaria produces up to three times more spores when atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are high. Airway exposure to the fungal spores may induce allergy symptoms and asthma in some people. Current climate-warming trends may intensify the problem, the research team noted. "These results suggest that continuing increases in atmospheric CO2 associated with global climate change will increase both the level of Alternaria exposure and antigenicity [the ability to produce an immune response] of spores that come in contact with the airways."
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Source: American Physiological Society (APS)