Gene expression in nasal lavage from hairdressers exposed to persulphate
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- Jönsson, L.S., Broberg, K., Paulsson, K. et al. Int Arch Occup Environ Health (2009) 82: 1261. doi:10.1007/s00420-009-0415-8
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Many hairdressers experience work-related symptoms from the airways caused by bleaching powder. This contains persulphates, which could be irritating to the mucous membrane and also may evoke an allergic reaction. However, specific IgE antibodies are difficult to detect. We found earlier that hairdressers with work-related bleaching powder-associated nasal symptoms reacted to persulphate, but that atopics also did and that the mechanism appeared to be similar in the two groups. In this study, we analysed gene expression of cytokines in the nose in order to further investigate the mechanism for work-related bleaching powder-associated nasal symptoms.
The study subjects belonged to either hairdressers with work-related bleaching powder-associated nasal symptoms (S; n = 6), hairdressers without work-related bleaching powder-associated symptoms (WS; n = 7) or atopics (A; n = 6). Nasal lavage was performed before and during (up to 4 h after the last challenge) provocation with potassium persulphate. Expression of two genes involved in allergic inflammation [interleukin 5 (IL5) and IL13] and one involved in cell-mediated immunity (interferon-gamma; IFNG) were analysed in nasal lavage with quantitative PCR.
The change of IL5 in the S group differed when compared to the WS group (P = 0.0051), in the A group when compared to the WS group (P = 0.014), but not in the S group when compared to the A group (P = 0.82). The change of IL13 in the A group differed when compared to the S (P = 0.041) and WS (P = 0.014) groups, but no difference was noticed between the S and WS groups (P = 0.30). The relative level of IFNG increased from before challenge to during challenge in the S group (P = 0.031).
Symptomatic hairdressers showed increased expression of IL5 and IFNG, but not IL13, during challenge. Hairdressers without work-related bleaching powder-associated nasal symptoms showed no markedly changed reaction. Atopics showed increased expression of IL5 and IL13. Thus, this may indicate a difference in the mechanism of symptoms between symptomatic hairdressers and atopics. However, due to the low number of participants, further studies are needed to elucidate the mechanism for persulphate-associated nasal symptoms.