Impact of mannose-binding lectin gene polymorphism on lung functions among workers exposed to airborne Aspergillus in a wastewater treatment plant in Egypt
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2022 Apr 22. doi: 10.1007/s11356-022-20234-w. Online ahead of print.
In this study, the risk of Aspergillus (Asp.) positivity and its respiratory health impacts on wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) workers were studied. In addition, it identified the geno-susceptibility role of mannose-binding lectin 2 (MBL2) gene polymorphisms and the mannose-binding lectin (MBL) serum levels on the pulmonary functions of the Asp.-positive workers. Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) were performed for 89 workers from a selected WWTP, after exclusion of the smokers. Molecular identification of Asp. blood positivity was done by 18S rRNA sequencing. Determination of MBL2 gene polymorphism and estimation of MBL serum levels were done. PFTs revealed abnormalities in 49.2% of the workers. Asp. was positive in 42.5% of the workers with different species. Among the Asp.-positive workers, 6.5% of the workers were with obstructive PFTs, 12.9% with restriction, and 22.6% with combined PFT abnormalities. MBL2 genotyping showed that wild genotype AA was common (68.5%) among Asp.-positive workers compared to the other genotypes. This allele, whether homozygous or heterozygous, was significantly associated with decline in PFTs of the exposed workers. MBL serum levels were significantly lower in workers with obstructive, restrictive, and combined PFT abnormalities compared to those with normal PFTs, and in the workers with Asp.-positive species than the Asp.-negative workers. Moreover, it was significantly lower in workers with Asp. fumigatus compared to that in the workers with other Asp. species, and in the Asp.-positive workers with homozygous or heterozygous A allele compared to that in the Asp.-positive workers with homozygous B allele. Working in a WWTP can be associated with impaired PFTs due to exposure to airborne fungi. MBL2 genotyping showed that Asp.-positive workers with homozygous or heterozygous A allele were at risk to develop decline in their PFTs.