Adiposity affects human response to inhaled organic dust

Authors

  • Yvon Cormier MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Unité de Recherche en Pneumologie, Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie, Hôpital and Université Laval, Quebec, Canada
    • Hôpital Laval, 2725 Chemin Ste Foy, Ste Foy, Quebec, Canada, G1V 4G5.
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  • Evelyne Israël-Assayag MSc

    1. Unité de Recherche en Pneumologie, Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie, Hôpital and Université Laval, Quebec, Canada
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  • Presented in a Pre-Conference Session: “Exposure to Endotoxin and the Lung”, at the Fifth International Symposium, Future of Rural Peoples: Rural Economy, Healthy People, Environment, Rural Communities. October 19, 2004, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Abstract

Background

Swine containment facilities are often highly contaminated with organic dusts that often contain varying levels of endotoxins and other microbial products. This study was performed to evaluate the effect of obesity on the inflammatory response induced by chronic or acute exposure to swine confinement buildings (SCB).

Methods

Two separate studies were performed; Study I included 36 SCB long-time workers and a control group of 35 matched male hospital workers never exposed to SCB. In Study II, 14 naïve healthy young subjects (8 overweight and 6 lean) volunteered to be acutely exposed to a SCB environment for 5 hr. Markers of sub-clinical inflammation linked to obesity (C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL-6)) or to active inflammation (soluble adhesion molecules, IL-8, TNF) were measured.

Results

In the first study, positive correlations were found between girth circumference and serum levels of IL-6 (r = 0.57, P = 0.0003) and CRP (r = 0.62, P < 0.0001) in the control group. These correlations were however blunted or lost in the SCB workers group who showed positive correlations between girth circumference and soluble l-selectin (r = 0.34, P = 0.04), TNFα (r = 0.37, P = 0.03), ICAM-1 (r = 0.61, P < 0.0001).

In the second study involving acute SCB exposure of naïve volunteers, no significant differences were observed between normal weight and overweight subjects for white blood cells, nasal lavage cell counts, and IL-8 levels. However, higher levels of CRP, TNF, and IL-6 were detected in overweight volunteers compared to those who were lean.

Conclusions

In pig farmers (Study I), environmentally induced chronic inflammation appears to blunt the sub-clinical inflammation linked to obesity, whereas in naïve volunteers of Study II, environmentally induced acute inflammation seems to have a potentiating effect on obesity-related inflammatory markers. Am. J. Ind. Med. 49:281–285, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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