This study was conducted to assess the immunomodulatory potentials [immunoglobulin E (IgE), interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)] of cement dust in individuals occupationally exposed to cement. Potentials of cement particles to modulate immune responses have not been documented in occupationally exposed Nigerians. Twenty-nine male cement loaders who had direct exposure to cement dust and gases for a period of 2 to 30 years in Elephant/Lafarge Cement Depot Ibadan, Nigeria, were recruited for this study. Another twenty apparently healthy individuals who had no interaction with cement served as controls. Plasma levels of IgE, IFN-γ and TNF-α were determined in them using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methods. The results showed significantly (p<0.05) higher level of plasma IgE in cement loaders compared with controls. IFN-γ decreased significantly (p<0.05) in cement loaders, while TNF-α did not show significant (p>0.05) change in the cement loaders compared with controls. There was no significant (p>0.05) correlation between the IgE, IFN-γ, TNF-α and period of exposure in the cement loaders. Cement dust could evoke IgE production and possibly inhibit certain cell types secreting IFN-γ in occupationally exposed workers. Clinicians and researchers may need to rule out recent exposure to cement dust when working on type I hypersensitivity conditions.
Key words: Cement, allergen, Interferon-γ, necrotic factor-alpha.
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