[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Researchers and technicians who use mice in research are exposed to complex mixtures containing mouse allergen, endotoxin and particulates from animals, bedding and feed. The particle characteristics of these different exposures, and whether they are encountered together or separately, are important to better understand their adjuvant and allergic effects. Endotoxin and mouse allergen are derived from the same animal source, but have different physicochemical attributes. It is not known if airborne exposures to these agents are correlated in the laboratory animal workplace.
Side-by-side personal and area samples for airborne endotoxin (52), mouse allergen (46) and total particulates (43) were obtained in the animal facility and laboratories of a medical research institution. Animal handlers and researchers reported time spent on work tasks with mice, symptoms upon exposure to mice and mouse sensitization was determined by skin test or RAST.
Mean airborne endotoxin exposure was highest during mouse experiments in the animal facility at 960 pg m(-3), peaked at 3125 pg m(-3), and ranged from 46 to 678 pg m(-3) with work in mouse rooms and research labs. Mouse allergen concentrations were highest during direct mouse work and background in research labs (mean 63-68 ng m(-3), range 41-271 ng m(-3)), but were undetectable during mouse research performed under a hood. Endotoxin and mouse allergen concentrations were correlated during direct research with mice and mouse care activities. Particle counts were low, typically < 1 cm(-3), varied widely, and exhibited peaks and valleys during different work tasks. From 80-90% of particles were < 1 microm in aerodynamic diameter during background measurements. The contribution of respirable particles 1-5 microm in size increased to 25-30% during mouse care and mouse research activities, but we found no association between any particle size and endotoxin or mouse allergen concentrations. Animal handlers and researchers in the mouse facility were exposed to the highest daily endotoxin concentrations, whereas researchers working with mice in the mouse facility and in laboratories were exposed to the highest daily mouse allergen concentrations.
These findings suggest that endotoxin and mouse allergen are co-exposures during mouse handling and research, and that control of exposure peaks may be necessary to limit allergic disease in the laboratory animal workplace.
Annals of Occupational Hygiene 08/2006; 50(6):563-72. · 2.16 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inhalation exposure to particulate matter containing endotoxin (or lipopolysaccharide (LPS)) occurs in a variety of occupations. Nasal lavage and induced sputum have been used to evaluate lung inflammation resulting from such exposures. Whole blood assay (WBA) measures cytokine production of leukocytes after ex vivo stimulation with LPS. The present study examined the effectiveness of WBA for evaluating inflammatory responses and susceptibility. C3HeB/FEJ mice were tolerised by LPS injection or sham tolerised with saline. Animals then inhaled either swine barn dust extract containing endotoxin or saline. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid was assayed for leukocyte counts and pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor-alpha). Whole blood was stimulated with 10 or 100 ng.mL(-1) of LPS, incubated for 5 or 18 h and assayed for cytokines. Barn dust-exposed groups revealed significantly higher total cells, neutrophils and cytokines in BAL compared with saline-exposed groups. Animals tolerised to LPS and exposed to barn dust demonstrated lower cellular and cytokine BAL responses. Similarly, WBA yielded significantly elevated cytokines with barn dust exposure and reduced responses with tolerisation. This study demonstrates the efficacy of whole blood assay as a biomarker of inhalation exposure to inflammatory agents and its use for assessing susceptibility to organic dust-induced lung inflammation.
European Respiratory Journal 07/2006; 27(6):1096-102. · 6.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human cases of hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) have been reported among machinists for over 10 yr. Although mycobacteria have been implicated as causal agents, this has not been established in experimental studies and the mechanisms remain unclear. Other constituents of in-use metalworking fluids (MWFs) may also contribute to the development of lung disease. We investigated the potential for Mycobacterium immunogenum (MI) in MWFs to induce HP.
Mice were exposed intranasally for 3 wk to MI (isolated from MWFs), Saccharopolyspora rectivirgula (positive control), saline, endotoxin, MWFs spiked with endotoxin and/or MI, used MWFs, and particulate-fortified used MWFs. Responses were assessed 96 h after the last exposure.
Mice exposed to MI in MWFs developed lung pathology consistent with HP along with significantly more monocytes and neutrophils in lung lavage, increased CD4+/CD8+ T-lymphocyte ratio, and marked pulmonary lymphocytosis on histologic examination when compared with saline-treated control mice. Mice with Grade 2 or higher pathology (0-4 point scale) exhibited significantly elevated macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha and IL-10 and a trend toward higher RANTES 96 h after the final dose. Endotoxin coexposure augmented lung pathology.
MWFs containing mycobacteria induced granulomatous lung lesions, peribronchiolar lymphocytosis, increased cell concentrations in lavage, and up-regulation of several cytokines. These findings are consistent with HP.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 05/2006; 173(7):759-68. · 11.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronically inhaled endotoxin, which is ubiquitous in many occupational and domestic environments, can adversely affect the respiratory system resulting in an inflammatory response and decreased lung function. Surfactant-associated protein A (SP-A) is part of the lung innate immune system and may attenuate the inflammatory response in various types of lung injury. Using a murine model to mimic occupational exposures to endotoxin, we hypothesized that SP-A gene expression and protein would be elevated in response to repeat exposure to inhaled grain dust and to purified lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Our results demonstrate that repeat exposure to inhaled endotoxin, either in the form of grain dust or purified LPS, results in increased whole lung SP-A gene expression and type II alveolar epithelial cell hyperplasia, whereas SP-A protein levels in lung lavage fluid are decreased. Furthermore, these alterations in SP-A gene activity and protein metabolism are dependent on an intact endotoxin signaling system.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the development of transgenic and specialized mouse strains, there is an increased need for inhalation exposure systems designed for smaller exposure groups. An inhalation exposure chamber, designed specifically for the exposure of up to 40 mice, was characterized. The chamber was fabricated from 0.32-cm-thick ((1)/(8)-in) aluminum sheets with outside dimensions of 61 cm long by 32 cm high by 34 cm deep, resulting in an internal volume of 65 L. Two stainless-steel open-mesh cages, separated by an absorbent barrier, can be stacked within the central portion of the chamber. Access is provided through a gasketed door with a safety-glass face. Tests were performed to determine the chamber leakage rate, degree of mixing, and spatial variation of two aerosols within the chamber. Results indicated that the fractional leakage rate was 0.0003 min(-1), well below a reported criterion for an operating chamber. Chamber operation gave similar mixing performance with, or without, use of an interior fan. For aerosols with a mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) of 2.56 micro m and 3.14 micro m, the spatial variation of particulate matter concentration resulted in coefficients of variation (CVs) of 4.8% and 11.0%, respectively. These CV values are comparable to those obtained from similar studies involving other inhalation exposure chambers.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research scientists, laboratory technicians, and animal handlers who work with animals frequently report respiratory and skin symptoms from exposure to laboratory animals (LA). However, on the basis of prick skin tests or RASTs, only half are sensitized to LA. We hypothesized that aerosolized endotoxin from mouse work is responsible for symptoms in nonsensitized workers. We performed a cross-sectional study of 269/310 (87%) workers at a research institution. Subjects completed a questionnaire and underwent prick skin tests (n = 254) or RASTs (n = 16) for environmental and LA allergens. We measured airborne mouse allergen and endotoxin in the animal facility and in research laboratories. Of 212 workers not sensitized to mice, 34 (16%) reported symptoms compared with 26 (46%) of mouse-sensitized workers (p < 0.001). Symptomatic workers were more likely to be atopic, regardless of mouse sensitization status. Symptomatic non-mouse-sensitized workers spent more time performing animal experiments in the animal facility (p = 0.0001) and in their own laboratories (p < 0.0001) and had higher daily endotoxin exposure (p = 0.008) compared with asymptomatic coworkers. In a multivariate model, daily endotoxin exposure most strongly predicted symptoms to mice in non-mouse-sensitized workers (odds ratio = 30.8, p = 0.003). We conclude that airborne endotoxin is associated with respiratory symptoms to mice in non-mouse-sensitized scientists and technicians.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 04/2003; 167(7):983-90. · 11.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endotoxin is one of the principal components of grain dust that causes acute reversible airflow obstruction and airway inflammation. To determine whether endotoxin responsiveness influences the development of chronic grain dust-induced airway disease, physiological and airway inflammation remodeling parameters were evaluated after an 8-wk exposure to corn dust extract (CDE) and again after a 4-wk recovery period in a strain of mice sensitive to (C3H/HeBFeJ) and one resistant to (C3H/HeJ) endotoxin. After the CDE exposure, both strains of mice had equal airway hyperreactivity to a methacholine challenge; however, airway hyperreactivity persisted only in the C3H/HeBFeJ mice after the recovery period. Only the C3H/HeBFeJ mice showed significant inflammation of the lower airway after the 8-wk exposure to CDE. After the recovery period, this inflammatory response completely resolved. Lung stereological measurements indicate that an 8-wk exposure to CDE resulted in persistent expansion of the airway submucosal cross-sectional area only in the C3H/HeBFeJ mice. Collagen type III and an influx of cells into the subepithelial area participated in the expansion of the submucosa. Our findings demonstrate that subchronic inhalation of grain dust extract results in the development of chronic airway disease only in mice sensitive to endotoxin but not in mice that are genetically hyporesponsive to endotoxin, suggesting that endotoxin is important in the development of chronic airway disease.