Objective: To investigate toll-like receptors and CD14 expression on blood cells, cytokine profile of blood T-helper cells and serum levels of soluble suppression of tumorigenicity 2 (sST2) and sCD14 in 27 symptomatic laboratory animal (LA) workers with positive (n = 19) or negative (n = 8) skin-prick test to LA, 12 birch pollen atopics and 11 non-atopic controls not exposed to LA.
Methods: Surface markers and intracellular cytokines were measured with flow cytometry and sST2 and sCD14 with ELISA.
Results: The group who experienced symptoms when working with LA, with positive and negative skin-prick test to LA, had higher CD14 expression on monocytes compared with those allergic to birch and controls. Further, serum sST2 were elevated in birch atopics and in symptomatics non-allergic to LA compared with controls.
Conclusion: Increased CD14 expression found in LA workers is most likely a response to non-allergic agent exposure whereas ST2 seems to react to acute allergen exposure and to non-allergic stimuli as pathogen-associated molecular patterns.