Immunological findings and respiratory function in cotton textile workers

  • Eugenija Zuskin
  • Bozica Kanceljak
  • E. Neil Schachter
  • Theodore J. Witek
  • Jadranka Mustajbegovic
  • Saul Maayani
  • Marion G. Buck
  • Nicholas Rienzi


Immunological parameters were studied in a group of 24 cotton textile workers. These were volunteers from a cohort of 106 (83 women and 23 men) previously studied textile workers. A group of 30 employees from a bottle packing plant served as a control for the immunologic studies. The subgroup of volunteers undergoing immunologic testing did not differ from the original cohort of textile workers in age, sex, smoking history, or prevalence of most chronic respiratory symptoms, nor were there any significant differences in baseline lung function or across-shift changes. The 24 cotton worker volunteers underwent skin testing with extracts of cotton dust and cotton seed. Eight of these 24 (33.3%) had positive tests, and 5 of the 8 had elevated serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels. Only one of the 8 skin-test-positive workers had symptoms of byssinosis. Only 1 of 30 control workers' skin tested with cotton extract reacted, and none had an increased serum IgE level (P < 0.01). Both baseline lung function and across-shift changes did not differ between workers with positive and negative skin test reactions or between workers with normal and elevated IgE levels. Additionally, we studied the response in vitro of nonsensitized guinea pig trachea to cotton bract extract and demonstrated a dose-dependent contractile response. These data suggest that while immunological findings are frequent in textile workers, they correlate poorly with respiratory symptoms and function and may not be the basis for the airway obstruction seen in this disease.

Key words

Cotton dust Respiratory function Allergy Guinea pig 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugenija Zuskin
    • 1
  • Bozica Kanceljak
    • 2
  • E. Neil Schachter
    • 3
  • Theodore J. Witek
    • 3
  • Jadranka Mustajbegovic
    • 1
  • Saul Maayani
    • 3
  • Marion G. Buck
    • 4
  • Nicholas Rienzi
    • 3
  1. 1.Andrija Stampar School of Public HealthZagrebYugoslavia
  2. 2.Institute for Medical Research and Occupational MedicineZagrebYugoslavia
  3. 3.The Mount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Yale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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