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ABSTRACT: Exposure to microbes present in mould-damaged buildings has been linked to increased frequency of various inflammatory diseases. The current study examined differences in inflammatory mediators in nasal lavage (NAL), induced sputum (IS) and serum of occupants with rheumatic or respiratory disorders and their controls, all working in the same moisture-damaged building. Exhaled nitric oxide (NO) measurements, lung function tests, skin-prick tests and health data collection by questionnaire were performed. Concentrations of NO, interleukin (IL)-1, IL-4, IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha in NAL, IS and serum (excluding NO and IL-1) of the subjects were measured during an occupational exposure period and the vacation period without such exposure. The concentrations of IL-4 in NAL fluid were significantly higher among all occupants during the working period (geometric mean 8.5 microg x mL(-1), range 0-206.5 microg x mL(-1)), as compared to that during vacation (0.4 microng x mL(-1) range 0-3.7 pg x mL(-1)) (p = 0.008). Absence from the work environment also significantly diminished reporting of symptoms. IL-4 levels in the serum of case subjects were significantly higher than in controls. Moreover, employees with respiratory symptoms had markedly higher exhaled NO values than their controls (p = 0.028). In summary, these data suggest that mediators in nasal lavage samples reflect the occupational exposure to moulds, whereas possible indicators of existing disorders are detectable in serum.
European Respiratory Journal 10/2001; 18(3):542-8. · 6.36 Impact Factor