Air Pollutants, Categories of Biomarkers and Health Outcomes in Taconite Workers in Minnesota
Principal Investigator: Rony F. Arauz, MPH – PhD Student
Academic and Research Advisor: Jeffrey Mandel, MD, MPH – Associate Professor
Co-Investigators: Richard F. MacLehose, PhD – Associate Professor; Irina Stepanov, PhD – Associate Professor
Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
Respiratory diseases are diseases of the airways and other structures of the lungs. Lung disease can be classified into physiologic obstructive and/or restrictive types. The mainstay for the current assessment of lung structure and function have been chest x-ray, pulmonary function test (PFT) and medical symptoms. These all lack both sensitivity and specificity when exposure to pollutants is low, but may still able to influence disease. Of importance are respirable silica (RS), respirable dust (RD), and particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 microns (PM 2.5), which have been associated with disease. The mechanism(s) by which inhaled substances contribute to and/or influence diseased state in organ systems remain uncertain. Inflammation is a major biological mechanism thought to be associated between inhalation-mediated and organ systems toxicity. The suggested link between air pollutants and systemic inflammation may lead to the production of certain biomarkers that depending on the time that this cascade occurs, could contribute to the early onset and progression of disease. This proposed work presents a unique opportunity to study those mechanisms in a cohort of 250 taconite workers in Minnesota. We will develop exploratory relationship with workplace exposures and biomarkers, as well as biomarkers and disease to be used in future hypothesis research. We will obtain categories of biomarkers relevant to inflammation (CRP, CBC (eosinophils, WBC, platelets), TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8 IL-15, IFNα2, sRAGE, fibrinogen, adiponectin, pro-surfactant protein B, SAA, SP-D, PARC/CCL18, MIP-1β, MCP-1, IP-10, MIG, TARC, and ENA78) in blood provided by participants and respiratory disease (chest x-ray, PFT and medical symptoms), along with information on clinical characteristics. We will use state-of-the art personal and ambient exposures to the pollutants and linked them to disease. This multidisciplinary study will evaluate potential occupational, environmental and clinical determinants of respiratory disease with the goal of developing unique knowledge with the possibility of prevention implications.