Increased bronchial responsiveness in workers sawing Scots pine

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1996 Mar;153(3):948-52. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.153.3.8630578.


The purpose of the present investigation was to study bronchial responsiveness and pulmonary function in Swedish sawmill workers, who are not exposed to plicatic acid, the sensitizer in red wood cedar asthma. Bronchial responsiveness, transfer factor, spirometry, and precipitating antibodies in serum against sawmill fungi were measured in 164 workers at five sawmills. The results from workers inside the sawing area (sawyers, n=59), in the trimming department (trimmers, n=66), and from other workers in the sawmill (sawyer-referents, n=39) were compared. Sawyers had higher bronchial responsiveness than referents. In 55% of the sawyers FEV1 decreased by 20% or more within the highest dose of methacholine compared with 31% of sawyer-referents and 41% of trimmers (p<0.01, sawyers/referents). Sawyers decreased 74% more in FEV1 per milligram of inhaled methacholine compared with referents (geometric means, p<0.01). The transfer test in never-smokers was 13% lower in sawyers than in trimmers (p<0.01) and 8% lower compared with sawyer-referents (nonsignificant p<0.1). Presence of precipitating antibodies was not associated with changes in pulmonary function. Some agents in the sawing area of sawmills appear to increase bronchial responsiveness and decrease diffusion capacity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens
  • Antibodies, Fungal / blood
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / physiopathology*
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Bronchoconstrictor Agents
  • Dust / adverse effects
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Fungi
  • Humans
  • Lignans*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Maximal Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Maximal Midexpiratory Flow Rate
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Middle Aged
  • Naphthols
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity
  • Smoking / physiopathology
  • Spirometry
  • Spores
  • Sweden
  • Trees*
  • Vital Capacity


  • Allergens
  • Antibodies, Fungal
  • Bronchoconstrictor Agents
  • Dust
  • Lignans
  • Naphthols
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • plicatic acid