Airway and Blood Inflammatory Markers in Waste Collectors
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Waste collectors are exposed to a heterogeneous mixture of bioaerosols able to induce health effects. The study aim was to evaluate inflammatory processes in blood and in the respiratory tract via analysis of atopy and club cell secretory protein 16 (CC16) in serum, exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), and cellular and soluble mediators in nasal lavage fluid (NALF) and induced sputum (IS). Sixty nine current waste collectors (48% smokers) and 28 former waste collectors (25% smokers) were included in the cross-sectional study. In both groups, 63 and 64% of workers reported complaints of the eyes, nose and/or upper airways. Thirty two percent of the current and 25% of the former workers were classified as atopics. More atopics suffered from rhinitis and conjunctivitis than non-atopics (64% vs. 40% in current workers; 71% vs. 40% in former workers). CC16 values of present non-smokers were significantly higher compared to smokers. In total, FeNO values of 31 participants were lower than 10 ppb, 94% of them were smokers and 85% had respiratory symptoms of lower airways. Most of the IS biomarkers were significantly higher in smokers than in non-smokers. Non-smoking workers with respiratory symptoms of lower airways had slightly elevated mediator IS concentrations compared to asymptomatic non-smokers. We conclude that inflammatory changes in waste collectors are detectable in the content of IS biomarkers, exhaled NO, and serum CC16, which all are influenced by the smoking habit. No significant differences in biomarkers are detectable between current and former waste collectors.
KeywordsClub cell Exhaled nitric oxide Induced sputum Inflammatory markers Nasal lavage Non-invasive methods Occupational exposure Secretory protein Waste collectors
The study was conducted with the help of the German Social Accident Insurance, Institution for the public sector in North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf, Germany. We would like to thank the waste collectors for participating in the study. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the laboratory and clinical staff for their skilful technical assistance. Supported in part by the German Social Accident Insurance (project IPA-94).
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest in relation to this article.
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