OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to assess nasal mucociliary clearance, mucus properties and inflammation in smokers and subjects enrolled in a Smoking Cessation Program (referred to as quitters). METHOD: A total of 33 subjects with a median (IQR) smoking history of 34 (20-58) pack years were examined for nasal mucociliary clearance using a saccharine transit test, mucus properties using contact angle and sneeze clearability tests, and quantification of inflammatory and epithelial cells, IL-6 and IL-8 concentrations in nasal lavage fluid. Twenty quitters (mean age: 51 years, 9 male) were assessed at baseline, 1 month, 3 months and 12 months after smoking cessation, and 13 smokers (mean age: 52 years, 6 male) were assessed at baseline and after 12 months. Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02136550. RESULTS: Smokers and quitters showed similar demographic characteristics and morbidities. At baseline, all subjects showed impaired nasal mucociliary clearance (mean 17.6 min), although 63% and 85% of the quitters demonstrated significant nasal mucociliary clearance improvement at 1 month and 12 months, respectively. At 12 months, quitters also showed mucus sneeze clearability improvement (∼26%), an increased number of macrophages (2-fold) and no changes in mucus contact angle or cytokine concentrations. CONCLUSION: This study showed that smoking cessation induced early improvements in nasal mucociliary clearance independent of mucus properties and inflammation. Changes in mucus properties were observed after only 12 months of smoking cessation.
OBJECTIVE: To utilize low-cost and simple methods to assess airway and lung inflammation biomarkers related to air pollution. METHODS: A total of 87 male, non-smoking, healthy subjects working as street traffic-controllers or office-workers were examined to determine carbon monoxide in exhaled breath and to measure the pH in nasal lavage fluid and exhaled breath condensate. Air pollution exposure was measured by particulate matter concentration, and data were obtained from fixed monitoring stations (8-h work intervals per day, during the 5 consecutive days prior to the study). RESULTS: Exhaled carbon monoxide was two-fold greater in traffic-controllers than in office-workers. The mean pH values were 8.12 in exhaled breath condensate and 7.99 in nasal lavage fluid in office-workers; these values were lower in traffic-controllers (7.80 and 7.30, respectively). Both groups presented similar cytokines concentrations in both substrates, however, IL-1β and IL-8 were elevated in nasal lavage fluid compared with exhaled breath condensate. The particulate matter concentration was greater at the workplace of traffic-controllers compared with that of office-workers. CONCLUSION: The pH values of nasal lavage fluid and exhaled breath condensate are important, robust, easy to measure and reproducible biomarkers that can be used to monitor occupational exposure to air pollution. Additionally, traffic-controllers are at an increased risk of airway and lung inflammation during their occupational activities compared with office-workers.