Allergenic pollen and pollen allergy in Europe

Authors

  • G. D’Amato,

    1. Division of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases, Department of Chest Diseases, High Speciality Hospital ’A.Cardarelli’ Napoli, Italy
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      EAACI Interest Group on ‘Aerobiology and Air pollution’

  • L. Cecchi,

    1. Interdepartmental Centre of Bioclimatology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
    2. Allergy Clinic, Azienda Sanitaria 10 Firenze, Florence, Italy
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      EAACI Interest Group on ‘Aerobiology and Air pollution’

  • S. Bonini,

    1. Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy
    2. Institute of Neurobiology and Molecular Medicine National Research Council, ARTOV, Rome, Italy
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      The GA2LEN project

  • C. Nunes,

    1. Centro de Imunoalerlogia do Algarve, Portimao, Portugal
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      EAACI Interest Group on ‘Aerobiology and Air pollution’

  • I. Annesi-Maesano,

    1. INSERM, UMR S 707: EPAR, Paris, France
    2. Université Pierre et Marie Curie – Paris 6, UMR S 707: EPAR, Paris, France
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  • H. Behrendt,

    1. Division of Environmental Dermatology and Allergy GSF/TUM, Technical University, Munich, Germany
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      EAACI Interest Group on ‘Aerobiology and Air pollution’

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      The GA2LEN project

  • G. Liccardi,

    1. Division of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases, Department of Chest Diseases, High Speciality Hospital ’A.Cardarelli’ Napoli, Italy
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      EAACI Interest Group on ‘Aerobiology and Air pollution’

  • T. Popov,

    1. Clinical Centre of Allergology, Medical University, Sofia, Bulgaria
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      The GA2LEN project

  • P. Van Cauwenberge

    1. Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, University Hospital Gent, Belgium
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      The GA2LEN project


Prof. G. D'Amato
Division of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases
Department of Chest Diseases
High Speciality Hospital “A.Cardarelli”
Napoli
Italy

Abstract

The allergenic content of the atmosphere varies according to climate, geography and vegetation. Data on the presence and prevalence of allergenic airborne pollens, obtained from both aerobiological studies and allergological investigations, make it possible to design pollen calendars with the approximate flowering period of the plants in the sampling area. In this way, even though pollen production and dispersal from year to year depend on the patterns of preseason weather and on the conditions prevailing at the time of anthesis, it is usually possible to forecast the chances of encountering high atmospheric allergenic pollen concentrations in different areas.

Aerobiological and allergological studies show that the pollen map of Europe is changing also as a result of cultural factors (for example, importation of plants such as birch and cypress for urban parklands), greater international travel (e.g. colonization by ragweed in France, northern Italy, Austria, Hungary etc.) and climate change. In this regard, the higher frequency of weather extremes, like thunderstorms, and increasing episodes of long range transport of allergenic pollen represent new challenges for researchers.

Furthermore, in the last few years, experimental data on pollen and subpollen-particles structure, the pathogenetic role of pollen and the interaction between pollen and air pollutants, gave new insights into the mechanisms of respiratory allergic diseases.

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