Outcome of specific bronchial responsiveness to occupational agents after removal from exposure

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1996 Aug;154(2 Pt 1):329-33. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.154.2.8756802.


A decrease in specific bronchial responsiveness (SBR) could occur after removal from exposure to an agent causing occupational asthma as a result of loss of immunologic and/or nonspecific bronchial reactivity (NSBR). We studied 15 subjects with occupational asthma (eight to a high- and seven to a low-molecular-weight agent, isocyanate in all instances), proved by specific inhalation challenges (SIC) done 2 yr or more before. Subjects were reexposed in the same way as in the initial SIC: for subjects who did not react, the exposure was increased until either an asthmatic reaction occurred or a maximum of 2 h was reached. NSBR was assessed before and after SIC. Subjects had a decrease in their SBR if the total dose of agent necessary to induce asthmatic reaction was greater by twofold compared with the initial SIC. There was a significant improvement in NSBR in seven of 15 subjects. Nine of 15 subjects (60%) had a decrease in their SBR. Only one had a complete loss of SBR. Changes in NSBR, molecular weight of the offending agent, decrease of antibody level against offending agents, or duration of exposure at work did not explain the decrease in SBR. We conclude that after removal from exposure to the offending agent a majority of subjects (60%) show a decrease but a persistence of SBR to high- and low-molecular-weight agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / chemically induced
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / chemically induced
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / diagnosis
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / physiopathology*
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isocyanates / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Skin Tests
  • Time Factors


  • Isocyanates