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Title:Exposure to a firefighting overhaul environment without respiratory protection increases immune dysregulation and lung disease risk
Author(s):Gainey, Stephen J.; Horn, Gavin P.; Towers, Albert E.; Oelschlager, Maci L.; Tir, Vincent L.; Drnevich, Jenny; Fent, Kenneth W.; Kerber, Stephen; Smith, Denise L.; Freund, Gregory G.
Life safety
Firefighting research
Personal protective equipment
Respiratory protection
Lung diseases
Immune system
Abstract:Firefighting activities appear to increase the risk of acute and chronic lung disease, including malignancy. While self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA) mitigate exposures to inhalable asphyxiates and carcinogens, firefighters frequently remove SCBA during overhaul when the firegrounds appear clear of visible smoke. Using a mouse model of overhaul without airway protection, the impact of fireground environment exposure on lung gene expression was assessed to identify transcripts potentially critical to firefighter-related chronic pulmonary illnesses. Lung tissue was collected 2 hrs post-overhaul and evaluated via whole genome transcriptomics by RNA-seq. Although gas metering showed that the fireground overhaul levels of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen cyanine (HCN), hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and oxygen (O2) were within NIOSH ceiling recommendations, 3852 lung genes were differentially expressed when mice exposed to overhaul were compared to mice on the fireground but outside the overhaul environment. Importantly, overhaul exposure was associated with an up/down-regulation of 86 genes with a fold change of 1.5 or greater (p<0.5) including the immunomodulatory-linked genes S100a8 and Tnfsf9 (downregulation) and the cancer-linked genes, Capn11 and Rorc (upregulation). Taken together these findings indicate that, without respiratory protection, exposure to the fireground overhaul environment is associated with transcriptional changes impacting proteins potentially related to inflammation-associated lung disease and cancer.
Issue Date:2018-08-21
Publisher:PLoS ONE
Citation Info:Gainey SJ, Horn GP, Towers AE, Oelschlager ML, Tir VL, Drnevich J, et al. (2018) Exposure to a firefighting overhaul environment without respiratory protection increases immune dysregulation and lung disease risk. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0201830.
Sponsor:This work was supported by the Department of Homeland Security Fire Prevention and Safety Grant #EMW-2013-FP-00766 to G.H. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Rights Information:This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-11-14

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  • IFSI Research
    This collection contains research publications from IFSI Research at the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

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