Occupational Asthma Reference

Krop EJM, van de Pol MA, Lutter R, Heederik DJJ, Aalberse RC, van der Zee JS, Dynamics in cytokine responses during the development of occupational sensitization to rats, Allergy, 2010;65:1227-1233,

Keywords: rat,laboratory animal, IL4, mechanism

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Dick Heederik, Institute of Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht Dick Heederik

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Background: Occupational allergy forms an attractive model to study the development of allergic responses, as in some occupations it has a high incidence and develops quickly. In a cohort of starting laboratory animal workers, we previously found 20% sensitization to animal allergens within 2 years.

Methods: We compared cellular responses of incident laboratory animal workers who developed rat-specific sensitization (cases, n = 18) during 2 years of follow-up to control animal workers matched for atopic status but without sensitization after follow-up (controls, n = 18). Practically, this is a case–control study, nested within the cohort. Rat-specific IgE antibodies were measured in sera, and allergen-specific and nonspecific cytokine responses were measured in whole blood and in isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

Results: Self-reported allergic symptoms were related to the presence of rat-specific IgE (P = 0.01). Cases developed a rat allergen–specific interleukin (IL)-4 response during sensitization, while controls did not show an increased IL-4 response (at visit D: 33 vs 5 IL-4 producing cells/106 cells, P < 0.001). The IL-4 response was related to the levels of rat-specific IgE in cases (visit D: rho = 0.706, P < 0.001). By contrast, allergen-specific IL-10 and interferon (IFN) responses as well as nonspecific cytokine responses were comparable between cases and controls.

Conclusion: This study is the first to show the development of an allergen-specific IL-4 response in adult human subjects during allergen-specific sensitization. This IL-4 response was quantitatively associated with the development of the specific IgE antibodies. Allergen-specific or nonspecific IL-10 and IFN responses showed no protective effect on the development of allergic sensitization

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