Introduction and objective:
Poultry house employees spend a significant part of their work shift being exposed to airborne particulate pollutants. The aim of this study was to assess their exposure at different stages of chicken production cycle, based on quantification of pro-inflammatory mediators (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and TNFα) in nasal lavage (NAL) samples.

Material and methods:
The concentrations of airborne dust at 3 different stages of the production cycle (i.e. empty poultry house, with 7- and 42-day-old chickens) were stationary measured using Grimm spectrometer, as well as CIS and Button samplers. The dust collected by the latter 2 samplers was analyzed for endotoxin and (1→3)-β-D-glucan content. NAL samples were collected from employees after their work shift to determine the pro-inflammatory mediator levels.

The maximum particulate aerosol, endotoxin, and (1→3)-β-D-glucan concentrations at workplaces reached the levels of 4.12 mg/m3, 45.21 ng/m3, and 56.54 ng/m3, respectively. The IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 concentrations in NAL samples ranged between 0.62–18.12 pg/mL, <0.70–25.37 pg/mL, and <3.50–259.5 pg/mL, respectively. All TNFα levels were below 4 pg/mL. There were no significant differences between these cytokine concentrations in NAL samples collected at different stages of chicken breeding in either ‘winter’ or ‘summer’ seasons.

Inhalation stimulation with poultry dust containing endotoxins and (1→3)-β-D-glucans resulted in the production of pro-inflammatory mediators, which proves the course of immunological processes in the exposed employees that may lead to adverse effects. The use of nasal lavage fluid in the control of such exposure confirms that NAL analysis is a reliable laboratory tool for assessing the impact of poultry dust on exposed farm workers.

The study was funded by the National Science Centre, Kraków, Poland (Contract No. 2019/35/B/NZ7/04394, Intensive rearing of poultry – identification of changes occurring in the environment and their impact on human health).
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