Pollen Makes You More Susceptible to Infections – Even Without Allergies – Heilpraxis

Why pollen increases susceptibility to infections

From March to May many people suffer allergic symptomswhat’s through birch pollen be called. However, according to a recent study, birch pollen can also affect people who do not suffer from allergies. innate immune system influence that Susceptibility to viral infections increases.

researchers from TWINCORE – Center for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research discovered how birch pollen affects immune cells. The results of the study were recently published in the journalallergy“represented.

Birch pollen contributes to viral infections

Birch trees cause runny nose and watery eyes in many allergy sufferers. Observational studies have already drawn attention to the fact that birch pollen can also affect the health of people who do not suffer from allergies. For example, the relationship between pollen concentration and the occurrence Respiratory and herpesvirus infections observable.

Therefore, a link between pollen and increased susceptibility to viral infections has already been suggested. However, it has not yet been known to which mechanism this phenomenon can be attributed.

The underlying mechanism revealed for the first time

The TWINCORE working group in Hannover, together with researchers from the University of Augsburg, has now been able to explain how Birch pollen affects the immune system.

“We treated cultures of human dendritic cells with aqueous pollen extracts and then infected them with human cytomegalovirus, abbreviated as HCMV.”doctoral student explains Zeinab Fneish from the research team.

Pollen-stimulated inflammatory signals

The team was able to show that the presence of pollen increases the release pro-inflammatory signaling molecules stimulates.

In particular, the concentration cytokines IL-6 and IFN-alpha in cells increased in the presence of pollen. “This pro-inflammatory environment makes cells more susceptible to HCMV infection.”adds Dr. Jennifer Becker added.

“Moreover, when we exposed the cells to the pollen extract for longer, this susceptibility to viral infection increased.”confirms Dr. Becker.

Outcomes Important for Asthma Patients

The scientists involved in the study emphasize that these results may play a special role for those who have suffered from previous diseases.

“Asthma patients are highly sensitive to pollen exposure, and the presence of HCMV or Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in these patients is associated with serious illness.”explains Fneish.

“Our results indicate that HCMV infection or reactivation of latent HCMV may be facilitated by contact with pollen.”, adds Becker in conclusion. (wb)

Information about the author and source

This text complies with the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current research and has been verified by medical professionals.


Chartered Editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • TWINCORE: How pollen increases susceptibility to infections (published: 09/02/2022),
  • Zeinab Fneisch, Jennifer Becker, Ulrich Kalinke et al: Birch pollen extract enhances human cytomegalovirus replication in monocyte-derived dendritic cells; in: Allergy (2022),

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.

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