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Elevation of Circulating Th17/Th22 Cells Exposed to Low-Level Formaldehyde and Its Relevance to Formaldehyde-Induced Occupational Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Mai, Weihua MD; Liu, Xingwei MS; Su, Guangxiao MS; Zhou, Wenying BS; Wen, Ziping MS; Lu, Dongqing MD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: September 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 9 - p 817–821
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001074
Original Articles

Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of formaldehyde exposure on Th17 and Th22 cells and its relevance to human occupational allergic contact dermatitis (OACD).

Methods: Circulating IL17-/IL22-secreting cells and serum IL17/IL22 levels in formaldehyde-exposed workers at Occupational Exposure Limit and nonexposed controls were assessed.

Results: The IL17+ and IL22+ cell population were detected in both CD3+CD8- and CD3+CD8+ cells. The percentages of circulating IL17+ and IL22+ T cells in the workers with and without ACD history were all elevated, which were more remarkable in the ones with ACD history. Serum levels of IL17 and IL22 between the workers and controls were not significantly different.

Conclusions: Low-level formaldehyde exposure may increase circulating IL17-/IL22-producing T cells (CD8- and CD8+), possibly involved in the development of human OACD. But it may not alter serum levels of IL17/IL22 before the appearance of OACD symptoms.

Department of Prevention and Healthcare, the Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China (Dr Mai, Su); Department of General Surgery, the Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China (Mr Liu); Department of Laboratory Science, the Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China (Ms Zhou); and Department of Dermatology, the Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China (Mr Wen, Mr Lu).

Address correspondence to: Weihua Mai, MD, Department of Prevention and Healthcare, the Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, No. 52 East Meihua Road, Zhuhai, Guangdong Province 519000, China (weihuamai2004@163.com).

This work was supported by Science and Technology Planning Project of Zhuhai city, China (Grant No: 2014D0401990013) and Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (Grant No: 2014A030313028).

Authors Mai, Liu, Su, Zhou, Wen, and Lu have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine