The effect of upper respiratory allergy on acute respiratory response to ambient air pollution during physical exercise
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Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Katowice, Poland (Faculty of Medical Sciences in Katowice, Department of Epidemiology)
Online publication date: 2020-07-22
Corresponding author
Krzysztof Kocot   

Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Faculty of Medical Sciences in Katowice, Department of Epidemiology, Medyków 18, 40-752 Katowice, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2020;33(5):649-60
Objectives: Ambient air pollution is related to adverse respiratory effects. Because of a popular habit of recreational physical activity, the effects of exposure to increased levels of air pollution attract increasing attention. It remains unclear whether the allergy status has an impact on acute responses to air pollution exposure during brief exercise in young adults. The aim of the study was to determine if acute respiratory responses to ambient air pollution during physical exercise differ between young subjects with and without a history of upper respiratory allergy. Material and Methods: Overall, 41 young males with (N = 15, 36.6%) and without allergy (N = 26, 63.4%) performed short moderate-intensive cycle-ergometer sessions in winter air pollution exposure conditions. Associations were analyzed between environmental conditions and acute physiological changes in spirometry, fractioned exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) levels, blood pressure and pulse oximetry. Results: No associations between air pollution concentrations and changes in forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 s and the Tiffeneau index were found. In the subjects without allergy, the increased air pollution concentrations recorded during exercise were associated with a post-exercise increase/a smaller decrease in FeNO (SO2: Spearman’s ρ = 0.44, NOx: ρ = 0.51, and particulate matter [PM] levels – PM10: ρ = 0.51, PM2.5: ρ = 0.52). This effect was not observed in the subjects with allergy. Conclusions: Upper-respiratory allergy may be a modifying factor in human response to air pollution during exercise. Exposure to air pollution during brief moderate-intensive exercise did not have any acute negative impact on respiratory and cardiovascular function in young males. However, in the case of FeNO, subclinical post-exercise changes related to air pollution were observed in volunteers without allergy. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2020;33(5):649–60
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