Christine A. Blaski, M.D.
Specialty: Pulmonary Medicine
North Shore Medical Center
81 Highland Avenue
Salem, MA 01970
The following is a list of recent publications for which this Partners Asthma Center physician has been cited as an author in PubMed databases. Study abstracts have been provided for your convenience.
Blaski, C. A., W. D. Clapp, et al. (1996). "The role of atopy in grain dust-induced airway disease." Am J Respir Crit Care Med 154(2 Pt 1): 334-40.
To determine whether atopy influences the physiologic or inflammatory response to grain dust, we compared spirometric measures of airflow and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) measures of lower respiratory tract inflammation between demographically similar nonatopic (n = 10) and atopic (n = 10) study subjects after each of two inhalation exposures: Hanks' balanced salt solution (HBSS) and corn dust extract (CDE; 0.4 microgram of endotoxin/kg body weight). Subjects were healthy nonsmokers with similar baseline pulmonary function, without bronchial hyperreactivity, and had not participated in agriculture. Atopic subjects had two or more positive skin responses to 10 common environmental allergens. Both groups developed significant airflow obstruction and lower airway inflammation after CDE inhalation. Importantly, the magnitude of the post-CDE exposure airflow decrements, BAL cellularity, and BAL concentration of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), IL-6, and IL-8 did not significantly differ between atopics and nonatopics. The concentrations of histamine and eosinophils in the BAL fluid were unaffected by CDE inhalation and did not significantly differ between atopics and nonatopics. Atopic status does not appear to be a significant determinant of airflow obstruction or lower airway inflammation following CDE inhalation. Our findings suggest that atopy may play, at most, a minor role in the development of grain dust-induced airway disease.
Blaski, C. A., J. L. Watt, et al. (1996). "Nasal lavage cellularity, grain dust, and airflow obstruction." Chest 109(4): 1086-92.
To evaluate the clinical utility of nasal lavage (NL), we performed post-work shift NL on 172 grain workers and 78 postal worker control subjects. The grain worker group included a higher percentage of current smokers (25.7% vs 16.7%) and a lower percentage of former smokers (21.15% vs 35.9%) compared with the postal workers. The control subjects included more female workers and were slightly older than the grain workers. Compared with the postal workers, the grain workers were exposed to significantly greater concentrations of total dust (0.1 +/- 0.0 vs 6.8 +/- 1.4 mg/m3; mean +/- SEM) and total endotoxin (4.3 +/- 0.8 vs 2,372.4 +/- 653.8 endotoxin units/m3). NL from gain workers showed a higher concentration of total cells (55,000 +/- 14,000 vs 25,000 +/- 5,000 cells per milliliter; p=0.03), a higher concentration of squamous epithelial cells (17,029.0 +/- 4,177 .0 vs 7,103.7 +/- 1,479.8 cells per milliliter; p=0.03), and a higher concentration of neutrophils (40,058.0 +/- 12,803.2 vs 17,891.0 +/- 3,822.3 cells per milliliter; p=0.10) compared with postal workers. Importantly, these differences in NL cellularity between grain workers and postal workers were observed within the three strata of smokers. To further assess the importance of total cells, squamous epithelial cells, and neutrophils in the NL fluid of grain workers, we investigated the relationship between these cell concentrations and (1) measures of dust and endotoxin exposure during the work shift. (2) spirometric measures of airflow obtained immediately before the NL, and (3) work-related respiratory symptoms. The concentration of total cells, the concentration of squamous epithelial cells, or the concentration of neutrophils in the NL was not associated with ambient levels of dust or endotoxin, with baseline or cross-shift changes in lung function, or with work-related respiratory symptoms. These findings suggest that increased NL cellularity may be seen in workers exposed to high dust levels. However, the NL cellularity does not appear to be associated with ambient concentrations of dusts or endotoxins, with signs of airflow obstruction, or with work-related respiratory symptoms.