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Research article2015Peer reviewedOpen access

Inflammatory Mediator Profiling of n-butanol Exposed Upper Airways in Individuals with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Meinertz Dantoft, Thomas; Skovbjerg, Sine; Andersson, Linus; Claeson, Anna-Sara; Lind, Nina; Nordin, Steven; Brix, Susanne


BackgroundMultiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is a chronic condition characterized by reports of recurrent symptoms in response to low level exposure to various chemical substances. Recent findings suggests that dysregulation of the immune system may play a role in MCS pathophysiology.ObjectivesThe aim of this study was to examine baseline and low dose n-butanol-induced upper airway inflammatory response profiles in MCS subjects versus healthy controls.MethodEighteen participants with MCS and 18 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled in the study. Epithelial lining fluid was collected from the nasal cavity at three time points: baseline, within 15 minutes after being exposed to 3.7 ppm n-butanol in an exposure chamber and four hours after exposure termination. A total of 19 cytokines and chemokines were quantified. Furthermore, at baseline and during the exposure session, participants rated the perceived intensity, valence and levels of symptoms and autonomic recordings were obtained.ResultsThe physiological and psychophysical measurements during the n-butanol exposure session verified a specific response in MCS individuals only. However, MCS subjects and healthy controls displayed similar upper airway inflammatory mediator profiles (P>0.05) at baseline. Likewise, direct comparison of mediator levels in the MCS group and controls after n-butanol exposure revealed no significant group differences.ConclusionWe demonstrate no abnormal upper airway inflammatory mediator levels in MCS subjects before or after a symptom-eliciting exposure to low dose n-butanol, implying that upper airways of MCS subjects are functionally intact at the level of cytokine and chemokine production and secretory capacity. This suggests that previous findings of increased cytokine plasma levels in MCS are unlikely to be caused by systemic priming via excessive upper airway inflammatory processes.

Published in

2015, Volume: 10, number: 11, article number: e0143534

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
    Environmental Health and Occupational Health

    Publication identifier


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