Inflammatory Mediator Profiling of n-butanol Exposed Upper Airways in Individuals with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Thomas Meinertz Dantoft, Sine Skovbjerg, Linus Andersson, Anna-Sara Claeson, Nina Lind, Steven Nordin, Susanne Brix Pedersen

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    Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is a chronic condition characterized by reports of recurrent symptoms in response to low level exposure to various chemical substances. Recent findings suggests that dysregulation of the immune system may play a role in MCS pathophysiology. The aim of this study was to examine baseline and low dose n-butanol-induced upper airway inflammatory response profiles in MCS subjects versus healthy controls. Eighteen participants with MCS and 18 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled in the study. Epithelial lining fluid was collected from the nasal cavity at three time points: baseline, within 15 minutes after being exposed to 3.7 ppm n-butanol in an exposure chamber and four hours after exposure termination. A total of 19 cytokines and chemokines were quantified. Furthermore, at baseline and during the exposure session, participants rated the perceived intensity, valence and levels of symptoms and autonomic recordings were obtained. The physiological and psychophysical measurements during the n-butanol exposure session verified a specific response in MCS individuals only. However, MCS subjects and healthy controls displayed similar upper airway inflammatory mediator profiles (P>0.05) at baseline. Likewise, direct comparison of mediator levels in the MCS group and controls after n-butanol exposure revealed no significant group differences. We demonstrate no abnormal upper airway inflammatory mediator levels in MCS subjects before or after a symptom-eliciting exposure to low dose n-butanol, implying that upper airways of MCS subjects are functionally intact at the level of cytokine and chemokine production and secretory capacity. This suggests that previous findings of increased cytokine plasma levels in MCS are unlikely to be caused by systemic priming via excessive upper airway inflammatory processes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0143534
    JournalP L o S One
    Issue number11
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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