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.
Surface markers and intracellular cytokines were measured with flow cytometry and sST2 and sCD14 with ELISA.
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.
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.
From the Lung and Allergy Research, National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
This work was supported by Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation, Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association and Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research.
Address correspondence to: Karin Sahlander, MSc, Lung and Allergy Research, National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, P.O. Box 287, SE-17177 Stockholm, Sweden; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.