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Host factors in occupational diisocyanate asthma: a Swiss longitudinal study
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Objective: To investigate the usefulness of surrogates for individual susceptibility to organic diisocyanates in occupational asthma. Subjects: All new cases declared to the Swiss National Accident Insurance Company (SUVA) for establishment of a case for compensable occupational disease during 1993. Sixty-nine persons, of whom three were women, were suspected of having occupational asthma due to isocyanates. Of these, 47 subjects fulfilled the criteria to be accepted as an occupational disease case. Methods: All subjects were studied clinically and gave a blood sample for the phenotyping of their alpha-antitrypsin status and for immunological studies. The subjects were also given a peroral dose of caffeine for the determination of their N-acetylation capacity. Finally, those with an occupational disease were subjected to the methacholine provocation test. Results: Forty-four persons with occupational disease, out of 47, were heterozygous antitrypsin carriers and/or slow acetylators of primary amines. In the bronchial provocation with methacholine, 12 of these subjects had an unaltered response and seven had a mild reaction, 13 a moderate one and 15 a severe reaction. Interpretation: The study confirms the finding that slow N-acetylators are susceptible to asthma from exposure to common diisocyanate monomers at work. The same applies to heterozygous antitrypsin-phenotype carriers. Thus, the use of these markers may reinforce the diagnostic procedure, but they cannot completely replace the immunological tests. [Authors]
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