Background: Occupational asthma (OA) from iroko wood has been reported primarily in case reports.
Objective: To improve understanding of the pathogenesis of OA induced by iroko wood dust.
Methods: Three groups of woodworkers were included in this study: 9 workers who had clinically proven OA from iroko; 10 asymptomatic woodworkers; and 10 woodworkers with asthma. All patients underwent the following tests: a skin test with an iroko aqueous extract, specific IgE determination, and an iroko bronchial provocation test (IBPT). An eosinophil count was determined before and after the IBPT, and a methacholine inhalation test was performed after avoidance of exposure to iroko. Patients were asked to monitor their peak expiratory flow rates during a week at work followed by a week's vacation.
Results: In all patients with a personal history predictive of OA from iroko, a reduction of the peak expiratory flow rate and positivity to the IBPT while working with iroko were present. The latter test result showed a dual response, with a decrease in forced expiratory volume in 1 second from 25% to 32% at 10 minutes and a further decrease from 35% to 43% at 8 hours; at 24 hours, the eosinophil count was higher (P = .046). In 4 patients, the intradermal test results with iroko extract were positive, whereas the skin prick test result and the specific IgE determination were negative in all patients. The methacholine test result was also positive. In the control groups, all the test results with iroko extract were negative.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that OA due to iroko wood may be induced by immunologic mechanisms other than IgE-mediated immediate hypersensitivity reactions.