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Respir Med. 2004 Sep;98(9):821-5.

Diesel exhaust exposure enhances the expression of IL-13 in the bronchial epithelium of healthy subjects.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergy, University Hospital, Umeå SE-901 85, Sweden.


Epidemiological studies have demonstrated adverse health effects of environmental pollution. Diesel exhaust (DE) is an important contributor to ambient particulate matter pollution. DE exposure has been shown to induce a pronounced inflammatory response in the airways, with an enhanced epithelial expression of IL-8, and Gro-alpha in healthy subjects. The present investigation was aimed to further characterise the epithelial response to DE in vivo, with particular reference to possible TH2 response, in non-atopic healthy subjects. To determine this response, 15 healthy, non-atopic non-smoking subjects with normal lung function were exposed to DE (PM10 300 microg/m3) and filtered air during 1 h on two separate randomised occasions. Bronchoscopy sampling of bronchial mucosal biopsies was performed 6 h after exposure. Immunohistochemical staining were performed using mAb for IL-10, IL-13 and IL-18 expression. DE exposure induced a significant increase in the expression of IL-13 in the bronchial epithelium cells, 2.1 (1.35-4.88) Md (Q1-Q3) vs. air 0.94 (0.53-1.23); P = 0.009. No significant changes were seen in IL-10 and IL-18 expression. This finding suggests an TH2-inflammatory response in the airways of non-atopic healthy individuals.

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