Over just the last century, within the last several decades, we have seen a steep rise in levels of asthma, auto-immune disorders, and allergies. However, the statistical analysis can show that these conditions are more prevalent in developed nations rather than developing countries.
According to a recent study conducted by the University of Eastern Finland shows us that exposure to farm animals within the years of early childhood pay actually play an important role in the development of a healthy immune system, in regards to the role of dendritic cells and cytokine production. These dendritic cells are made to be messengers that present antigens to other cells that can elicit an immunological response.
Children who have grown up around farm animals have been shown to be less likely to develop childhood atopic diseases such as asthma and eczema. Even though a clear relationship could be found between growing up on a farm which contributes to developing a healthy immune system for the future. To which this study was trying to note the connection between these two in attempt to understand the link.
MSc, Heidi Kaario, within her PhD thesis she had investigated on whether farm and pet exposure can effect the phenotype and functional properties of the dendrictic cells as well as the cytokine production within the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of children at the age of 4.5 years within a subpopulation of a much broader study, this is known as the Finnish PASTURE birth cohort study. To which they were able to find that half of the children within the study were from farming families and that the other half were from rural, non-farming families.
This study provides us that one step closer to better understanding these complex mechanisms that involve the development of our immune systems.