The objective of the study was to determine whether swine farmers continuously exposed to the farming environment react differently to acute exposure than previously unexposed nonfarmers.
Nine healthy nonfarmers, not previously exposed to a farming environment, and eight swine farmers were exposed in a swine confinement building for 3 hours while weighing pigs. Lung function measurements, methacholine challenge tests, and nasal lavages were performed before and after the exposure. Blood samples were drawn repeatedly during the exposure day. Differential cell counts and cytokine levels were analyzed in the nasal lavage fluid and blood.
The exposure levels were the same in both groups. Bronchial responsiveness to methacholine increased by a median of 4.0 (25th-75th percentiles 2.2-10.1 among the nonfarmers) and 0.7 (25th-75th percentiles 0.01-3.5 among the farmers) doubled concentration steps. The median serum levels of interleukin-6 increased from 3.8 (25th-75th percentiles