Vegetable dust and airway disease: Inflammatory mechanisms

Academic Article


  • Exposure to cotton or grain dust causes an obstructive bronchitis in certain subjects, mechanisms of which are poorly understood. A difficulty encountered in discerning mechanisms of this airway disease is the lack of knowledge of the active components of these dusts. Clinical features suggest common but not exact mechanisms of the airway disease associated with these vegetable dusts. Human and animal studies show evidence of acellular and cellular inflammatory mechanisms of the bronchoconstriction and inflammation associated with these disorders. Potential cellular sources include alveolar macrophages, polymorphonuclear leukocyte, mast cells, basophils, eosinophils and lymphocytes. Acellular origins include the complement and humoral antibody systems, both of which have been implicated, although their pathogenic role in grain or cotton dust disorders is uncertain. In this review we critically address potential inflammatory mechanisms of airway alterations resulting from cotton or grain dust exposure. General mechanisms of bronchoconstriction are first presented, then specific studies dealing with either of the two dusts are discussed. We believe this area of research may be fruitful in dissecting mechanisms of bronchoconstriction and airway inflammation, especially as more human studies are undertaken.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cooper JAD; Buck MG; Gee JBL
  • Start Page

  • 7
  • End Page

  • 15
  • Volume

  • VOL. 66