Serum ferritin and transferrin levels as serologic markers of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate-induced occupational asthma

Gyu Young Hur, Gil Soon Choi, Seung Soo Sheen, Hyun Young Lee, Han Jung Park, Sung Jin Choi, Young Min Ye, Hae Sim Park

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) may induce occupational asthma in the workplace, the pathogenic mechanisms are unclear. Objectives: By using bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, we sought to identify proteins that were differentially expressed between subjects with MDI-induced occupational asthma (MDI-OA) and asymptomatic exposed controls (AECs). Methods: To find proteins that were differentially expressed between the MDI-OA and AEC groups, 2-dimensional electrophoresis was performed by using bronchoalveolar lavage fluid obtained from subjects after MDI-specific inhalation challenge. The selected protein spots were then identified by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The clinical relevance of the differentially expressed spots was compared by ELISA using sera from the MDI-OA/eosinophilic bronchitis, AEC, and unexposed healthy control groups. Receiver operating characteristic curves were then plotted, and the sensitivity and specificity were determined. Results: Twenty-three protein spots were identified that distinguished the subjects with MDI-OA from those in the AEC group. Among them, ferritin expression was downregulated whereas transferrin expression was upregulated in subjects with MDI-OA compared with AEC; these results were validated by ELISA using sera from the MDI-OA/EB and AEC groups. To identify subjects with MDI-OA, the optimal serum cutoff levels were 69.84 ng/mL for ferritin and 2.48 μg/mL for transferrin. When these 2 parameters were combined, the sensitivity was 71.43% and the specificity was 85.71%. Conclusion: Serum ferritin and transferrin levels are associated with the phenotype of MDI-OA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-780
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes



  • ferritin
  • MDI
  • occupational asthma
  • proteome
  • transferrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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