Few studies have yet addressed the effects of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in house dust on human nasal mucosa.
We investigated the effects of house dust containing DEHP on nasal mucosa of healthy and house dust mite (HDM)–allergic subjects in a short-term exposure setting.
We challenged 16 healthy and 16 HDM-allergic subjects for 3 hr with house dust at a concentration of 300 μg/m3 containing either low (0.41 mg/g) or high (2.09 mg/g) levels of DEHP. Exposure to filtered air served as control. After exposure, we measured proteins and performed a DNA microarray analysis.
Nasal exposure to house dust with low or high DEHP had no effect on symptom scores. Healthy subjects had almost no response to inhaled dust, but HDM-allergic subjects showed varied responses: DEHPlow house dust increased eosinophil cationic protein, granulocyte-colony–stimulating factor (G-CSF), interleukin (IL)-5, and IL-6, whereas DEHPhigh house dust decreased G-CSF and IL-6. Furthermore, in healthy subjects, DEHP concentration resulted in 10 differentially expressed genes, whereas 16 genes were differentially expressed in HDM-allergic subjects, among them anti-Müllerian hormone, which was significantly up-regulated after exposure to DEHPhigh house dust compared with exposure to DEHPlow house dust, and fibroblast growth factor 9, IL-6, and transforming growth factor-β1, which were down-regulated.
Short-term exposure to house dust with high concentrations of DEHP has attenuating effects on human nasal immune response in HDM-allergic subjects, concerning both gene expression and cytokines.