The hygiene hypothesis and allergic disorders

  • Paolo M. Matricardi
  • Eckard Hamelmann
Part of the Progress in Inflammation Research book series (PIR)


Allergic diseases are more frequent in the general population than other immune-mediated disorders, such as autoimmune diseases or immunodeficiencies. Therefore, epidemiological studies investigating the hygiene hypothesis in relation to allergic diseases have been performed much more frequently than those investigating the hygiene hypothesis in relation to Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or other diseases related to dysregulation of the immune system. More than one thousand papers have been written on this subject and it is not possible to condense them in a few pages. In this chapter, we summarise the most important pathways followed by the research on the hygiene hypothesis applied to allergic disorders, i.e., the allergy protective role of foodborne and orofaecal infections, starting from Strachan’s initial observations and concluding with the most recent intervention studies.


Atopic Dermatitis Allergic Disease Allergy Clin Immunol Allergic Disorder Hygiene Hypothesis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo M. Matricardi
    • 1
  • Eckard Hamelmann
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Pediatric Pneumology and ImmunologyCharité University MedicineBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of PaediatricsRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany

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