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Allerg Immunol (Paris). 2002 Jun;34(6):199-203.

Broncho-alveolar inflammation in cork worker's asthma.

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Hospital de São João and Faculdade de Medicina-Universidade do Porto-4200 Porto, Portugal.


Suberosis is an occupational lung disease of cork workers associated with repeated exposure to mouldy cork dust in the cork industry, usually presenting as an interstitial lung disorder (Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis). However, Occupational Asthma can also be associated with cork dust exposure and demonstrated by serial peak expiratory flow changes.


To investigate broncho-alveolar inflammation in patients with cork work-related occupational asthma, evaluated by Broncho-alveolar fluid cellular profiles and serial peak expiratory flow (PEF) rates monitoring.


We studied 14 patients with respiratory symptoms associated with occupational exposure in the cork industry. Positive PEF monitoring occurred in 7 cases (Occupational Asthma-OA), and in 7 (Non-occupational asthmatics-NOA) PEF records were negative. There were no differences in age, lung function (FEV1%, RV%), bronchial hyperresponsiveness, years of exposure, and atopy between the two patients groups. However, patients with work-related asthma had higher BAL eosinophil counts than NOA (1.9 +/- 2.6% versus 0.2 +/- 0.3%; p < 0.05, Wilcoxon test).


Cork worker's asthma, demonstrated by work related changes in serial PEF recordings, is associated with eosinophilic lung inflammation as described in other forms of occupational asthma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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