pH in exhaled breath condensate and nasal lavage as a biomarker of air pollution-related inflammation in street traffic-controllers and office-workers

Thamires Marques de Lima Cristiane Mayumi Kazama Andreas Rembert Koczulla Pieter S. Hiemstra Mariangela Macchione Ana Luisa Godoy Fernandes Ubiratan de Paula Santos Maria Lucia Bueno-Garcia Dirce Maria Zanetta Carmen Diva Saldiva de André Paulo Hilario Nascimento Saldiva Naomi Kondo Nakagawa About the authors

OBJECTIVE:

To utilize low-cost and simple methods to assess airway and lung inflammation biomarkers related to air pollution.

METHODS:

A total of 87 male, non-smoking, healthy subjects working as street traffic-controllers or office-workers were examined to determine carbon monoxide in exhaled breath and to measure the pH in nasal lavage fluid and exhaled breath condensate. Air pollution exposure was measured by particulate matter concentration, and data were obtained from fixed monitoring stations (8-h work intervals per day, during the 5 consecutive days prior to the study).

RESULTS:

Exhaled carbon monoxide was two-fold greater in traffic-controllers than in office-workers. The mean pH values were 8.12 in exhaled breath condensate and 7.99 in nasal lavage fluid in office-workers; these values were lower in traffic-controllers (7.80 and 7.30, respectively). Both groups presented similar cytokines concentrations in both substrates, however, IL-1β and IL-8 were elevated in nasal lavage fluid compared with exhaled breath condensate. The particulate matter concentration was greater at the workplace of traffic-controllers compared with that of office-workers.

CONCLUSION:

The pH values of nasal lavage fluid and exhaled breath condensate are important, robust, easy to measure and reproducible biomarkers that can be used to monitor occupational exposure to air pollution. Additionally, traffic-controllers are at an increased risk of airway and lung inflammation during their occupational activities compared with office-workers.

Exhaled Breath Condensate; Nasal Lavage Fluid; Air Pollution; Airway Inflammation


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