NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals
927Z6RK - Effect of Stainless Steel Welding Fume Particulate on Lung Immunity in MiceStart Date: 10/1/2006
End Date: 9/30/2009
Principal Investigator (PI)Name: Stacey Anderson
Phone: 304-285-6174 X2
Funded By: NIOSH
Primary Goal Addressed5.0
Secondary Goal AddressedNone
Attributed to Manufacturing50%
There are an estimated 400,000 welders employed full-time in construction and manufacturing sectors. This project will evaluate the effect of occupational exposure to manual metal arc-stainless steel welding fumes (MMA-SS) on the immune system. Based on previous research and preliminary data, we propose that chronic welding fume exposure is immunosuppressive resulting in decreased antibody production. This project proposes to examine the antibody response after stainless steel welding fume exposure. After an alteration in antibody production can be confirmed, a potential mechanism of action by which the welding fumes are affecting the immune system will be determined through the analysis of cellular populations and cytokine levels.
An estimated 800,000 workers are employed full-time as welders worldwide and over 400,000 of these workers are estimated to be employed in the U.S as welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers. Still much larger numbers, believed to be more than one million, perform welding intermittently as part of their work duties. Arc welding is one of the most common forms of welding and includes the use of stainless steel electrodes which emit fumes containing chromium and nickel. Epidemological studies have identified large numbers of arc welders have experienced some type of adverse respiratory health effect. Alterations in the primary immune response of mice after chemical exposure is one of the best indicators of immunotoxicity. Previous work and preliminary data suggests that exposure to stainless steel welding fumes is immunosuppressive. This work proposes to evaluate the pulmonary immunotoxicity of stainless steel welding fumes. Humoral immunity will be evaluated in the murine mediastenial lymph nodes and broncoalveolar lavage fluid after pretreatment with welding fumes and challenge with antigen. IgM producing B-cells in the lymph nodes will be enumeration using the IgM plaque forming cell assay after challenge with sheep red blood cells and IgA, IgM and IgG levels will be enumerated in the bronchioalveloar lavage fluid using an enzyme linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) after exposure to the human Pneumovax vaccine. If alterations in the primary antibody responses to antigen after pretreatment with welding fumes can be identifed, the individual components of the welding fume will be analyzed using the techniques described above to identify the immunotoxic portion. The effect of stainless steel welding fumes on occupational asthma will be investigated after sensitization with ovalbumin and pretreatment with welding fumes (Total and ovalbumin specific IgE). Cells participating in the immune response and their role with respect to immunosuppression will be characterized using a flourescence activated cell sorter and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Studies investigating the health effects of welding fumes are limited. Previous research in animal models has demonstrated an increased susceptibility to infection after pretreatment with manual metal arc-stainless steel welding fumes (MMA-SS). In addition, we have preliminary data that also suggests exposure to stainless steel welding fumes is immunosuppressive. Based on these results, it is hypothesized that antibody levels stimulated by specific antigens will be decreased due to an inhibition of the function of the antigen presenting cells after welding fume exposure when compared to the vehicle controls. The overall goal of this proposal is to first characterize the effects, including cellular involvement and mechanism, of stainless steel welding fumes on pulmonary immunity and then identify the portion of the welding fume that is responsible for the immunomodulation.
There are an estimated 400,000 workers employed full-time in the U.S as welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers and still larger numbers who perform welding intermittently as part of their work duties. Studies have identified up to 79% of welders to experience some type of adverse health effect. The most common adverse respiratory effects include; bronchitis, airway irritation, lung function changes, and increased susceptibility to infection. A possible increase in the incidence of lung cancer has also been suggested. Most epidemiological studies evaluating the health effects of welding are limited and inconclusive due to the large number of factors that influence exposure. At this point in time, animal studies examining the immunotoxic effects of welding fumes are even more limited. Our goal is to evaluate the hypothesis that exposure to stainless steel welding fumes is immunosuppressive. We plan to test our hypothesis by evaluating the primary immunological effects caused by welding fume exposure.