The Effect of Inhalant Organic Dust on Bone Health

  • Joseph M. Carrington
  • Jill A. PooleEmail author
Allergies and the Environment (M Hernandez, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Allergies and the Environment


Purpose of Review

Agriculture remains a major economic sector globally, and workers experience high rates of chronic inflammatory lung and musculoskeletal diseases. Whereas obstructive pulmonary diseases are known risk factors for bone loss, the underlying relationship between lung inflammation and bone health is not well known.

Recent Findings

An agriculture organic dust extract inhalation animal model has recently linked lung injury-induced inflammation to systemic bone loss. This process is dependent upon lipopolysaccharide and the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling pathway. Downstream systemic interleukin-6 is a key mediator that subsequently activates osteoclastogenesis. Age is a host factor that impacted bone disease with younger mice demonstrating increased susceptibility to bone loss following inhalant exposures as compared to older mice. Supplemental dietary vitamin D was shown to prevent organic dust-induced bone loss, but not lung disease, in animals.


Recent animal studies provide new mechanistic insight into the lung-bone inflammatory axis. Host factors, diet, and lipopolysaccharide/TLR4 signaling pathways play a significant role in explaining how inhalant organic dust exposures impact bone health. These investigations might lead to specific targeted therapeutic approaches.


Organic dust Bone Endotoxin COPD Interleukin (IL)-6 Toll-like receptor 4/TLR4 



The authors wish to thank Melissa Carrington for the graphical assistance with the figure design.

Funding Information

This study is supported by grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (R01: ES019325 to JAP) and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (U54OH010162 to JAP). This work was supported in part by the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Poole reports grants from NIH/NIEHS. Dr. Carrington declares no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy Division, Department of MedicineUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA

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