Ex vivo innate responses to particulate matter from livestock farms in asthma patients and healthy individuals

Linsey E. S. de Groot, Dingyu Liu, Barbara S. Dierdorp, Niki Fens, Marianne A. van de Pol, Peter J. Sterk, Wim Kulik, Miriam E. Gerlofs-Nijland, Flemming R. Cassee, Elena Pinelli, René Lutter

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BACKGROUND: Asthma patients suffer from periodic acute worsening of symptoms (i.e. loss of asthma control or exacerbations), triggered by a variety of exogenous stimuli. With the growing awareness that air pollutants impact respiratory diseases, we investigated whether particulate matter (PM) derived from various livestock farms (BioPM) differentially affected innate and oxidative stress responses in asthma and health. METHODS: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), collected from patients sequentially before and during loss of asthma control and from healthy individuals, were exposed to BioPM collected from chicken, goat and pig farms (1 and 5 μg/ml), with or without pre-treatment with antioxidants. Cytokine release and oxidative stress were assessed. RESULTS: PBMCs produced IFNγ, IL-1β, IL-10 and TNFα upon stimulation with BioPM, with that from pig farms inducing the highest cytokine levels. Overall, cytokine production was irrespective of the presence or state of disease. However, PBMCs from stable asthma patients upon exposure to the three BioPM showed more extreme TNFα responses than those from healthy subjects. Furthermore, PBMCs obtained during loss of asthma control that were exposed to BioPM from pig farms showed enhanced IFNγ release as well as decreased oxidative stress levels upon pre-treatment with N-acetylcysteine (NAC) compared to stable disease. NAC, but not superoxide dismutase and catalase, also counteracted BioPM-induced cytokine release, indicating the importance of intracellular reactive oxygen species in the production of cytokines. CONCLUSIONS: BioPM triggered enhanced pro-inflammatory responses by PBMCs from both healthy subjects and asthma patients, with those from patients during loss of asthma control showing increased susceptibility to BioPM from pig farms in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Article number78
Pages (from-to)78
Number of pages1
JournalEnvironmental health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020


  • Asthma
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Particulate matter
  • Peripheral blood mononuclear cells

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