Serum pneumoproteins: A cross-sectional comparison of firefighters and police


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Serum pneumoproteins provide a measure of the permeability of the lower respiratory tract, and have shown promise as a biomarker of acute and chronic exposure to respiratory toxicants.


To evaluate the effects of chronic occupational smoke exposure, 105 firefighters were compared with 44 police controls in a cross-sectional study using spirometry, diffusing capacity of the lung, serum Clara cell protein (CC16), and serum surfactant-associated protein A (SP-A) measurements.


There were no significant differences in age, gender, height, spirometry (FVC and FEV1), and diffusing capacity between the two groups. Serum SP-A was lower in firefighters (260.1 ± 121.2 μg/L) than police (316.0 ± 151.4 μg/L, P = 0.019). Serum CC16 was also lower in firefighters (8.39 ± 3.11 μg/L) than police (10.56 ± 4.20 μg/L, P < 0.001), although this difference lost statistical significance when adjusted for confounders.


Firefighters have lower serum concentrations of SP-A than do police. Although the clinical significance of this finding is presently unknown, SP-A deserves further study as a biomarker of toxic exposure to the lower respiratory tract. Am. J. Ind. Med. 44:246–253, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.