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Acute respiratory effects in firefighters

Authors

  • Frans E. Greven PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
    2. Department of Environmental Health, Municipal Health Services Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
    • Department of Environmental Health, Municipal Health Services, Hulpverleningsdienst Groningen, PO Box 584, Groningen 9700 AN, the Netherlands.
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  • Esmeralda J. Krop PhD,

    1. Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
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  • Jack J. Spithoven BASc,

    1. Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
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  • Nena Burger BASc,

    1. Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
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  • Jos M. Rooyackers MD, PhD,

    1. Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
    2. Division Heart & Lungs, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands
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  • Huib A. Kerstjens MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Pulmonary Diseases, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
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  • Sicco van der Heide PhD,

    1. Department of Laboratory Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
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  • Dick J. Heederik PhD

    1. Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
    2. Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands
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  • The authors declare that they have no financial competing interest.

Abstract

Background

Associations between acute respiratory inflammatory responses, changes in bronchial hyperresponsiveness, serum pneumoprotein levels, and exposure to fire smoke were studied.

Methods

The study comprised 51 firefighters. Blood samples were taken within 24 hr following exposure to fire smoke, and after a week and 3 months. Sputum was induced within 5 days post-exposure and subjects underwent spirometry and methacholine provocation one week post-exposure. Exposure was registered by a questionnaire.

Results

No changes were observed following smoke exposure in bronchial hyperresponsiveness and serum pneumoprotein levels. Nevertheless, in a sizable proportion of the firefighters (44%) elevated sputum neutrophil levels (≥60%) were found. Serum IL-8 concentrations were higher 24 hr post-exposure compared to pre-exposure. Elevated neutrophil levels in sputum were associated with elevated serum IL-8 (β = 0.010, P = 0.004) and TNFα (β = 0.005, P = 0.034) levels within 24 hr post-exposure and IL-8 elevation lasted up to 3 months.

Conclusions

Acute exposure to fire smoke induces acute neutrophilic airway and long-lasting systemic inflammation in healthy firefighters in the absence of bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Am. J. Ind. Med. 55:54–62, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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