This study aimed to document key clinical differences between irritation and sensitisation in the workplace, with a view to potentially arming the clinician with new ways to assess cases of work-related respiratory disease. Hitherto, most clinical cases would be assessed on the nature and duration of symptoms alone, or perhaps in conjunction with simple measures of lung function and IgE testing where appropriate. The study was particularly interested in determining whether irritancy or sensitisation in the workplace was associated with the immune profile of a worker. Specifically, the expression of cell surface markers on T cells and monocytes, as well as the concentration of inflammatory cytokines, were investigated.
This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.
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