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Open AccessArticle

Biomarkers for Pulmonary Inflammation and Fibrosis and Lung Ventilation Function in Chinese Occupational Refractory Ceramic Fibers-Exposed Workers

1
National Institute of Occupational Health and Poison Control, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, No. 29 Nanwei Road, Xicheng District, Beijing 100050, China
2
Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing 100191, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15010042
Received: 15 November 2017 / Revised: 23 December 2017 / Accepted: 25 December 2017 / Published: 27 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Occupational Safety and Health)
Refractory ceramic fibers (RCFs) can cause adverse health effects on workers’ respiratory system, yet no proper biomarkers have been used to detect early pulmonary injury of RCFs-exposed workers. This study assessed the levels of two biomarkers that are related to respiratory injury in RCFs-exposed workers, and explored their relations with lung function. The exposure levels of total dust and respirable fibers were measured simultaneously in RCFs factories. The levels of TGF-β1 and ceruloplasmin (CP) increased with the RCFs exposure level (p < 0.05), and significantly increased in workers with high exposure level (1.21 ± 0.49 ng/mL, 115.25 ± 32.44 U/L) when compared with the control group (0.99 ± 0.29 ng/mL, 97.90 ± 35.01 U/L) (p < 0.05). The levels of FVC and FEV1 were significantly decreased in RCFs exposure group (p < 0.05). Negative relations were found between the concentrations of CP and FVC (B = −0.423, p = 0.025), or FEV1 (B = −0.494, p = 0.014). The concentration of TGF-β1 (B = 0.103, p = 0.001) and CP (B = 8.027, p = 0.007) were associated with respirable fiber exposure level. Occupational exposure to RCFs can impair lung ventilation function and may have the potential to cause pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis. TGF-β1 and CP might be used as sensitive and noninvasive biomarkers to detect lung injury in occupational RCFs-exposed workers. Respirable fiber concentration can better reflect occupational RCFs exposure and related respiratory injuries. View Full-Text
Keywords: refractory ceramic fibers (RCFs); pulmonary ventilation function; transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1); ceruloplasmin (CP); forced vital capacity (FVC); forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) refractory ceramic fibers (RCFs); pulmonary ventilation function; transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1); ceruloplasmin (CP); forced vital capacity (FVC); forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1)
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Zhu, X.; Gu, Y.; Ma, W.; Gao, P.; Liu, M.; Xiao, P.; Wang, H.; Chen, J.; Li, T. Biomarkers for Pulmonary Inflammation and Fibrosis and Lung Ventilation Function in Chinese Occupational Refractory Ceramic Fibers-Exposed Workers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 42.

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