Relationship between Pesticide Metabolites, Cytokine Patterns, and Asthma-Related Outcomes in Rural Women Workers

Mwanga HH, Dalvie MA, Singh TS, Channa K, Jeebhay MF

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Sep 27;13(10). Pii: E957


The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between exposure to organophosphate (OP) and pyrethroid (PYR) pesticides with serum cytokine patterns and asthma-related outcomes among rural women workers. A cross sectional study was conducted among rural women (n = 211), including those working and living on farms and nearby town dwellers. Pesticide exposure was assessed using urinary metabolite concentrations of OP and PYR pesticides. Health outcome assessment was ascertained through the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) questionnaire, fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), and serum cytokines associated with asthma. The prevalence of doctor-diagnosed asthma was 11%, adult-onset asthma 9%, and current asthma 6%. In this population, the proportion of T helper type 2 (Th2) cytokines (interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-13) detectable in subjects was between 18% and 40%, while the proportion of non-Th2 cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-17, and interferon gamma) was between 35% and 71%. Most Th2 and non-Th2 cytokines were positively associated with either OP or PYR metabolites. Non-Th2 cytokines showed much stronger associations with OP metabolites (Dimethyl phosphate OR = 4.23; 95% CI: 1.54-11.65) than Th2 cytokines (Dimethyl phosphate OR = 1.69; 95% CI: 0.83-3.46). This study suggests that exposure to most OP and some PYR pesticides may be associated with asthma-related cytokines, with non-Th2 cytokines demonstrating consistently stronger relationships.

KEYWORDS: airway inflammation; asthma; cytokines; pesticide metabolites