Abstract: Objectives In a previous study on smelter workers we, found significant relationship between exposure to dust and accelerated annual decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1). In this cross-sectional study at the end of a follow-up, we aimed to investigate the possible association between annual decline in FEV1 and markers of airways, and systemic inflammation in smelter workers. Methods: Employees (n=76 (27 current smokers)) who had been part of a longitudinal study (9–13 years) that included spirometry (>6 measurements) and respiratory questionnaires, performed induced sputum, exhaled NO and had blood drawn. Participants with annual decline in FEV1≥45 mL were compared with participants with annual decline <45 mL; also 26 non-exposed controls were included. Results: Compared with non-exposed controls, smelter workers demonstrated a significantly increased percentage of neutrophils (mean (SD)) (57% (17) vs 31% (15)) and matrix metalloproteinases 8 (MMP-8) levels in sputum, and MMP-9, surfactant protein D (SpD) and transforming growth factor β (TGFb) levels in blood. A significant association in FEV1≥45 mL was found for blood neutrophils when controlling for smoking habits (OR=1.7 (95% CI 1.0 to 2.8), p=0.045). Airway and blood protein markers were not associated with annual decline in FEV1. Conclusions: All workers displayed airway and systemic inflammation characterised...

Sikkeland, Liv Ingunn Bjoner; Johnsen, Helle Laier; Riste, Tonje Bøyum; Alexis, Neil E.; Halvorsen, Bente; Søyseth, Vidar; Kongerud, Johny
Occupational and Environmental Medicine BMJ Publishing Group, Occupational and Environmental Medicine 73(7): 459–466
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