Neopterin as a biomarker showing risks of developing pathology in bronchi and lungs among workers who have occupational contacts with industrial aerosols

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613.6; 616.24

T.V. Blinova, I.A. Umnyagina, V.V. Troshin, L.A. Strakhova, S.A. Kolesov


Nizhny Novgorod Scientific Research Institute for Hygiene and Occupational Pathology, 20 Semashko Str., Nizhny Novgorod, 603105, Russian Federation


Our research goal was to estimate neopterin level in blood serum of workers occupationally exposed to industrial aerosols with predominantly fibrogenic effects; to establish a relationship between this level and workers’ age, working experience in hazardous working conditions, spirometric parameters and the level of C-reactive protein. We also aimed to assess neopterin as a possible biomarker showing risks of the developing inflammatory process in the bronchi and lungs at its early stage.

Our observation covered the following groups: workers employed at a metallurgic plant who had occupational contacts with industrial aerosols (exposure factors included welding and silicon-containing aerosols with predominantly fibrogenic effects in concentrations exceeding maximum permissible ones in workplace air); people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease of occupational etiology (COPD OE) in their post-exposure period; workers who didn’t have any occupational contacts with industrial aerosols. We determined neopterin contents in blood serum with ELISA test using “Neopterin ELISA” reagent kit (IBL, Hamburg). Elevated neopterin levels were detected in blood serum of 56.1 % workers who were occupationally exposed to industrial aerosols and 53.3 % of patients with COPD OE; we also found a direct correlation between levels of neopterin and interferon gamma. Only 18.7 % workers without any occupational contacts with industrial aerosols had elevated neopterin levels in their blood serum and there were no authentic correlations between these levels and interferon gamma contents in this group. Workers who were occupationally exposed to industrial aerosols had a more apparent increase in the average level of neopterin at an age younger than 40 years and working experience shorter than 20 years in comparison with workers without any such exposure.

Neopterin can be used as a potential sensitive biomarker showing risks of an early inflammatory reaction in the lungs occurring in workers who are occupationally exposed to industrial aerosols. People with elevated neopterin levels in blood, especially those who are occupationally exposed to industrial aerosols, can be recommended to have their bronchi and lungs monitored in dynamics.

neopterin, macrophages, industrial aerosols, pathology in the bronchi and lungs, risk factor
Blinova T.V., Umnyagina I.A., Troshin V.V., Strakhova L.A., Kolesov S.A. Neopterin as a bi-omarker showing risks of developing pathology in bronchi and lungs among workers who have occupational contacts with industrial aerosols. Health Risk Analysis, 2022, no. 1, pp. 136–146. DOI: 10.21668/health.risk/2022.1.16.eng
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