Background: While acrylates are well-known skin sensitizers, they are not classified as respiratory sensitizers although several cases of acrylate-induced occupational asthma (OA) have been reported. Objective: To evaluate the characteristics of acrylate-induced OA in a large series of cases and compare those with OA induced by other low-molecular-weight (LMW) agents. Methods: Jobs and exposures, clinical and functional characteristics, and markers of airway inflammation were analyzed in an international, multicenter, retrospective cohort of subjects with OA ascertained by a positive inhalation challenge to acrylates (n = 55) or other LMW agents (n = 418) including isocyanates (n = 125). Results: Acrylate-containing glues were the most prevalent products, and industrial manufacturing, dental work, and beauty care were typical occupations causing OA. Work-related rhinitis was more common in acrylate-than in isocyanate-induced asthma (P <.001). The increase in postchallenge fractional exhaled nitric oxide was significantly greater in acrylate-induced OA (26.0; 8.2 to 38.0 parts per billion [ppb]) than in OA induced by other LMW agents (3.0; −1.0 to 10.0 ppb; P <.001) or isocyanates (5.0; 2.0 to 16.0 ppb; P =.010). Multivariable models confirmed that OA induced by acrylates was significantly and independently associated with a postchallenge increase in fractional exhaled nitric oxide (≥17.5 ppb). Conclusions: Acrylate-induced OA shows specific characteristics, concomitant work-related rhinitis, and exposure-related increases in fractional exhaled nitric oxide, suggesting that acrylates may induce asthma through different immunologic mechanisms compared with mechanisms through which other LMW agents may induce asthma. Our findings reinforce the need for a reevaluation of the hazard classification of acrylates, and further investigation of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying their respiratory sensitizing potential.
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