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Investigating the spill-over hypothesis: analysis of the association between local inflammatory markers in sputum and systemic inflammatory mediators in plasma

Investigating the spill-over hypothesis: analysis of the association between local inflammatory markers in sputum and systemic inflammatory mediators in plasma

Environmental Research 134: 24-32

Exposure to air pollutants represents a risk factor not only for respiratory diseases and lung cancer, but also for cardiometabolic diseases. It has been hypothesised that local inflammation in the lung and systemic subclinical inflammation are linked by impaired lung function and the spill-over of proinflammatory factors from the lung into the circulation which could act as intermediaries between environmental exposures and disease risk. We wanted to investigate whether local and systemic inflammatory markers are associated, which would support the spill-over hypothesis. Sputum and plasma samples were obtained from 257 women of the German SALIA cohort. We performed immunoassays to measure multiple biomarkers of airway inflammation in sputum as well as cytokines, chemokines and soluble adhesion molecules in plasma. Correlations were calculated and adjusted for potentially confounding variables. Even though several significant associations were detected between inflammatory mediators in sputum and plasma, correlation coefficients were rather low ranging from r≥-0.20 to r≤0.20. Comparatively stronger associations were observed between nitrite, eosinophil cationic protein, leukotrienes C/D/E4 and interleukin-8 in sputum. Notably, correlations were positive with all proinflammatory biomarkers and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist in plasma, whereas negative correlations were observed with the anti-inflammatory adipokine adiponectin. In conclusion, local inflammation in the lung and systemic subclinical inflammation appear mainly independently regulated in elderly women from the general population. Although we found multiple significant correlations between inflammatory biomarkers in sputum and plasma, our results do not provide clear support for the spill-over hypothesis.

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Accession: 053965533

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PMID: 25042033

DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.06.021

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