Author(s): Adelroth E, Hedlund U, Blomberg A, Helleday R, Ledin MC,
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Abstract The aim of the present study was to investigate if underground miners exposed to dust and diesel exhaust in an iron ore mine would show signs of airway inflammation as reflected in induced sputum. In total, 22 miners were studied, once after a holiday of at least 2 weeks and the second time after 3 months of regular work. Control subjects were 21 "white-collar" workers. All subjects completed a questionnaire regarding medical and occupational history, and underwent lung function testing and induced sputum collection. Total and differential cell counts and analyses of the fluid phase of the induced sputum were performed. Sampling of personal exposure to elemental carbon, nitrogen dioxide and inhalable dust was recorded. The average concentrations of inhalable dust, nitrogen dioxide and elemental carbon were 3.2 mg.m-3, 0.28 mg.m-3 and 27 microg.m-3, respectively. Miners had increased numbers of inflammatory cells, mainly alveolar macrophages and neutrophils, and increased concentrations of fibronectin, metalloproteinase-9 and interleukin-10 in induced sputum compared with controls. In conclusion, miners in an underground iron ore mine demonstrated persistent airway inflammation that was as pronounced after a 4-week holiday as after a 3-month period of work underground in the mine.
This article was published in Eur Respir J
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology