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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 625; doi:10.3390/ijerph13070625

Comparison of Effect of Two-Hour Exposure to Forest and Urban Environments on Cytokine, Anti-Oxidant, and Stress Levels in Young Adults

1
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Paik Hospital, College of Medicine Inje University, Seoul 04551, Korea
2
Graduate School of Art Therapy, Cha University, Sungnam 11160, Korea
3
Department of Child Psychology and Education, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul 110-745, Korea
4
Korea Employee Assistance Professionals Association, Seoul 04551, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Harry Timmermans
Received: 18 May 2016 / Revised: 15 June 2016 / Accepted: 17 June 2016 / Published: 23 June 2016
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of two-hour exposure to a forest environment on cytokine, anti-oxidant and stress levels among university students and to compare the results to those measured in urban environments. Forty-one subjects were recruited. For our crossover design, subjects were divided into two groups based on similar demographic characteristics. Group A remained in the urban environment and was asked to perform regular breathing for 2 h. Blood samples were collected and the serum levels of cytokines including interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were examined. Subjects were moved to a small town in a rural area for an equal amount of time to exclude carryover effects, and then remained for another 2 h in a forest environment. The second set of blood samples was collected to assess the effect of exposure to the forest environment. Using the same method, Group B was first exposed to the forest environment, followed by exposure to the urban environment. Blood samples collected after the subjects were exposed to the forest environment showed significantly lower levels of IL-8 and TNF-α compared to those in samples collected after urban environment exposure (10.76 vs. 9.21, t = 4.559, p < 0.001, and 0.97 vs. 0.87, t = 4.130, p < 0.001). The GPx concentration increased significantly after exposure to the forest environment (LnGPx = 5.09 vs. LnGPx = 5.21, t = −2.039, p < 0.05). View Full-Text
Keywords: forest; cytokines; glutathione; interleukin; antioxidant; crossover design forest; cytokines; glutathione; interleukin; antioxidant; crossover design
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Im, S.G.; Choi, H.; Jeon, Y.-H.; Song, M.-K.; Kim, W.; Woo, J.-M. Comparison of Effect of Two-Hour Exposure to Forest and Urban Environments on Cytokine, Anti-Oxidant, and Stress Levels in Young Adults. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 625.

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