Objective: Cytokeratin 18 (CK18) is a novel serologic biomarker for occupational liver disease. The purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence of CK18 elevation in elastomer/polymer workers exposed to acrylonitrile, 1,3-butadiene, and styrene.
Methods: A total of 82 chemical workers were evaluated. Cytokeratin 18 was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and proinflammatory cytokines were measured by multi-analyte chemiluminescent detection.
Results: Thirty-nine percent (32 of 82) had elevated CK18 levels, which were not explained by alcohol or obesity, except in potentially four cases. The pattern of CK18 elevation was consistent with toxicant-associated steatohepatitis (TASH) in the majority of cases (78%). Tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 were increased in these workers compared with those with normal CK18 levels.
Conclusions: These results suggest a high prevalence of occupational liver disease and TASH in elastomer/polymer workers with elevated proinflammatory cytokines.