Case-control study of genotypes in multiple chemical sensitivity: CYP2D6, NAT1, NAT2, PON1, PON2 and MTHFR. (33/104)

BACKGROUND: Impaired metabolism of toxic chemicals is a postulated mechanism underlying multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Because genetic variation alters the rate of chemical metabolism, this study was designed to determine if MCS cases differed from controls for genetic polymorphisms in drug-metabolizing enzymes. METHODS: Female Caucasian participants (203 cases and 162 controls) were drawn from a larger case-control study based on a reproducible and validated case definition. Common polymorphisms for CYP2D6, NAT1, NAT2, PON1, and PON2 were genotyped. RESULTS: Comparing cases and controls, significant differences were found in genotype distributions for CYP2D6 (P = 0.02) and NAT2 (P = 0.03). Compared with the referent homozygous inactive (CYP2D6) or slow (NAT2) metabolizers, the odds for being CYP2D6 homozygous active (OR = 3.36, P = 0.01) and NAT2 rapid (OR = 4.14, P = 0.01) were significantly higher in cases than controls. The odds for being heterozygous for PON1-55 (OR = 2.05, P = 0.04) and PON1-192 (OR = 1.57, P = 0.04) were also significantly higher in cases. CONCLUSIONS: A genetic predisposition for MCS may involve altered biotransformation of environmental chemicals. The CYP2D6 enzyme activates and inactivates toxins; the NAT2 enzyme bioactivates arylamines to protein-binding metabolites. A gene-gene interaction between CYP2D6 and NAT2 suggested that rapid metabolism for both enzymes may confer substantially elevated risk (OR = 18.7, P = 0.002). Our finding parallels others' observation of a link between PON1 heterozygosity and neurological symptoms in Gulf War syndrome. This first demonstration of genetic variation in drug-metabolizing enzymes in association with MCS requires replication. However, it suggests new research directions on genetically variable toxin pathways that might be important in MCS.  (+info)

Case-control study of multiple chemical sensitivity, comparing haematology, biochemistry, vitamins and serum volatile organic compound measures. (34/104)

BACKGROUND: Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), although poorly understood, is associated with considerable morbidity. AIM: To investigate potential biological mechanisms underlying MCS in a case-control study. METHODS: Two hundred and twenty-three MCS cases and 194 controls (urban females, aged 30-64 years) fulfilled reproducible eligibility criteria with discriminant validity. Routine laboratory results and serum levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were compared. Dose-response relationships, a criterion for causality, were examined linking exposures to likelihood of case status. RESULTS: Routine laboratory investigations revealed clinically unimportant case-control differences in means. Confounder-adjusted odds ratios (OR) showed MCS was negatively associated with lymphocyte count and total plasma homocysteine, positively associated with mean cell haemoglobin concentration, alanine aminotransferase and serum vitamin B6, and not associated with thyroid stimulating hormone, folate or serum vitamin B12. More cases than controls had detectable serum chloroform (P = 0.001) with the OR for detectability 2.78 (95% confidence interval = 1.73-4.48, P < 0.001). Chloroform levels were higher in cases. However, cases had significantly lower means of detectable serum levels of ethylbenzene, m&p-xylene, 3-methylpentane and hexane, and means of all serum levels of 1,3,5- and 1,2,3-trimethylbenzene, 2- and 3-methylpentane, and m&p-xylene. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings are inconsistent with proposals that MCS is associated with vitamin deficiency or thyroid dysfunction, but the association of lower lymphocyte counts with an increased likelihood of MCS is consistent with theories of immune dysfunction in MCS. Whether avoidance of exposures or different metabolic pathways in cases explain the observed lower VOC levels or the higher chloroform levels should be investigated.  (+info)

Annoyance and performance of three environmentally intolerant groups during experimental challenge with chemical odors. (35/104)

OBJECTIVES: This study investigated exposure- and subject-related determinants of annoyance and performance during the chemical odor provocation of healthy persons with self-reported environmental annoyance. METHODS: Persons with self-reported annoyance attributed to (i) chemicals or smells (smell-annoyed, SA, N=29), (ii) electrical equipment (electrically annoyed, EA, N= 16), and (iii) both smells and electricity (generally annoyed, GA, N=39) were, together with referents (N=54), challenged with n-butyl acetate in an exposure chamber at levels far below the threshold values for neurotoxic effects and trigeminal irritation. A sequence of three air concentrations, 0.37, 1.5, and 6 ppm (1.8, 7.1, and 28 mg/m3) was used, counterbalanced within groups, together with intermittent periods of room air between each exposure level. The response measures comprised ratings of annoyance and smell intensity and reaction-time tests. RESULTS: Only the GA group showed clearly elevated ratings of smell annoyance, mucous membrane irritation, and fatigue, as well as longer reaction times, compared with the referents, in response to the challenge. No group difference was found for the smell-intensity ratings. During intermittent periods without exposure, only the GA group maintained higher ratings for mucous membrane irritation and fatigue. Reaction time and all the rating dimensions showed a positive relationship with momentary n-butyl acetate concentration, while cumulative exposure had a more limited impact on the ratings and reaction time. A suggestion effect by the chamber environment before exposure could not be demonstrated. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that self-reported annoyance generalized to both electrical equipment and smells is a better predictor of chemical intolerance than self-reported annoyance to smells only.  (+info)

Hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal gland axis in mice inhaling toluene prior to low-level long-term exposure to formaldehyde. (36/104)

We studied the change in the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal gland (HPA) axis upon adding prior toluene inhalation to our previous formaldehyde inhalation experiments to determine whether short term exposure to relatively high levels of toluene triggers multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Data come from immunocytochemical, morphometrical and RT-PCR measurements. Four groups of adult female mice were exposed to differing concentrations (0, 80, 400, and 2,000 ppb) of formaldehyde for 16 hr/day, 5 days/week for twelve weeks, after the mice were exposed intranasally to 500 ppm toluene per mouse for 6 hr/day, for 3 days. We found that the number of corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH)-immunoreactive (ir) neurons was up-regulated according to the amount of formaldehyde as well as inhalation of formaldehyde alone in our previous experiment. The proportion of adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH)-ir cells increased according to the formaldehyde concentration, though there was no significant difference between the 400 and 2,000 groups. The number of ACTH-ir cells was higher in the 400 group than in the other groups (0, 80, and 2,000). Expression of ACTH-mRNA was also up-regulated according to the quantity of formaldehyde. The sinusoid in the anterior pituitary showed more dilatation in the 400 and 2,000 groups than in the control group, especially in the 2,000 group. We propose that exposure to toluene prior to inhalation of formaldehyde has no effect on the HPA axis and as a trigger of MCS, although greater sinusoid dilatation was found in the anterior pituitary gland at higher concentrations of formaldehyde.  (+info)

Changes in levels of nerve growth factor in nasal secretions after capsaicin inhalation in patients with airway symptoms from scents and chemicals. (37/104)

Patients complaining of upper and lower airway symptoms caused by scents and chemicals have previously been shown to have increased cough sensitivity to inhaled capsaicin, but the precise mechanisms behind this reaction are unknown. Hypothesizing that a neurochemical alteration related to sensory hyperreactivity (SHR) of the airway mucosa occurs, we measured levels of nerve growth factor (NGF) in nasal lavage fluid (NAL) before and after capsaicin inhalation provocations and related the capsaicin cough sensitivity to the NGF levels. Thirteen patients with SHR and 14 control subjects were provoked with capsaicin inhalation at three different doses. We measured NGF in NAL before and after provocation and recorded cough and capsaicin-induced symptoms. All subjects demonstrated a dose-dependent cough response to capsaicin inhalation, with a more pronounced effect in patients than in controls. Basal levels of NGF were significantly lower in the patient group than in the control subjects (p < 0.01). After capsaicin provocation, the patients showed a significant increase in NGF (p < 0.01), which was related to capsaicin cough sensitivity. The findings demonstrate that, in patients with airway symptoms induced by scents and chemicals, SHR is real and measurable, demonstrating a pathophysiology in the airways of these patients compared to healthy subjects.  (+info)

Physiologic and symptomatic responses to low-level substances in individuals with and without chemical sensitivities: a randomized controlled blinded pilot booth study. (38/104)

We conducted a pilot study using a randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled exposure among 10 individuals with and 7 without reported chemical sensitivities in a dedicated testing chamber. Objectives of the study were to explore the length of the adaptation period to obtain stable readings, evaluate responses to different substances, and measure the level and type of symptomatic and physiologic reactions to low-level exposures. Reported and observed symptoms, electrodermal response, heart rate, skin temperature, surface electromyogram, respiratory rate, contrast sensitivity, and the Brown-Peterson cognitive test were used and compared between cases and controls and between test substances (glue, body wash solution, dryer sheet) and control substances (unscented shampoo and clean air). Subjects with chemical sensitivities (cases) took longer to adapt to baseline protocols than did controls. After adaptation, despite small study numbers, cases displayed statistically significant responses (all measures, p < 0.02) in tonic electrodermal response to test substances compared with controls and compared with the control substance. Symptoms were also higher in cases than in controls for the body wash solution (p = 0.05) and dryer sheets (p = 0.02). Test-retest showed good agreement for both symptoms and tonic electrodermal responses (McNemar's test, p = 0.32 and p = 0.33, respectively). Outside of skin conductance, other measures had no consistent patterns between test and control substances and between cases and controls. This study shows the importance of using an adaptation period in testing individuals with reported chemical sensitivities and, despite small numbers, raises questions about underlying mechanisms and level of reactivity to low-level chemical exposures in sensitive individuals.  (+info)

Salivary cortisol and self-reported stress among persons with environmental annoyance. (39/104)

OBJECTIVES: Increased vulnerability to stress has been suggested as a possible mechanism behind medically unexplained conditions such as sensitivity to electricity and common smells. This study examined whether subjective environmental annoyance among the general population is associated with increased physiological reactivity or subjective stress scores. METHODS: Four groups were studied (N=141): an electrically annoyed (N=17), a smell-annoyed (N=29), and a generally annoyed group (N=39) and a reference group matched for age, gender, and socioeconomic status (N=56). Over 5 days, the participants collected saliva for cortisol determination at awakening, 30 minutes after awakening, 8 hours after awakening, and at 9 o'clock in the evening. On the evening preceding the fifth day, the participants ingested a 0.5-mg dexamethasone tablet so that possible differential suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis could be assessed. Each day, the participants also rated their subjective stress and health complaints. RESULTS: No significant differences were found between the groups regarding cortisol secretion over 5 days. The dexamethasone suppression test showed inhibited cortisol secretion in all four groups. No associations were found between the cortisol concentrations and the self-reported stress scores or subjective health complaints. CONCLUSIONS: Although the environmentally annoyed groups showed no signs of increased HPA-axis activation, being annoyed by both electrical devices and smells seems to be related to increased psychological activation in terms of self-reported stress. Because the participants were otherwise healthy and recruited from the general population, the results imply that subtle psychological stress processes may be important in the early development of environmental annoyance.  (+info)

University of Toronto case-control study of multiple chemical sensitivity-3: intra-erythrocytic mineral levels. (40/104)

BACKGROUND: Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) has an estimated American prevalence of 15%, and no consistently abnormal laboratory tests are available to assist in its diagnosis. Some physicians treating MCS patients have observed changes in intra-erythrocytic minerals (IEMs). As co-factors, minerals could influence detoxication of xenobiotics. AIM: To test whether IEM differed comparing MCS cases with controls. METHODS: A total of 408 women meeting validated inclusion and exclusion criteria for MCS participated in this case-control study. RESULTS: No statistically significant differences were observed. However, for copper, chromium, magnesium, molybdenum, sulphur and zinc, mean detectable levels were all lower in cases. No dose-response relationships were found. CONCLUSION: IEM measurements do not appear to provide useful diagnostic markers for MCS.  (+info)