To evaluate the role of personal factors in pneumoconiosis, several acute phase proteins were studied in 62 coal miners without acute illnesses and classified as having no pneumoconiosis (n = 19), simple pneumoconiosis (n = 23), or complicated pneumoconiosis with progressive massive fibrosis (n = 20). Groups were similar for age, years of work at high risk jobs, chronic bronchitis, and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1). C-reactive protein concentration was significantly higher in the simple and complicated pneumoconiosis groups in comparison with the no pneumoconiosis group. The C-reactive protein concentration was above the upper normal value in 12 (27.9%) out of 43 cases with simple and complicated pneumoconiosis. On the other hand only one case of no pneumoconiosis was above the upper normal range (5.3%), a significant difference taking into account a stratified analysis for chronic bronchitis. Fibrinogen concentration was significantly increased in the simple pneumoconiosis group compared with the no pneumoconiosis group. The value of fibrinogen was above the upper normal limit in 17 out of the 43 cases with pneumoconiosis (39.5%) by contrast with two cases in the no pneumoconiosis group (10.5%). No significant differences in alpha 1-antitrypsin and ceruloplasmin concentrations were found between groups. In conclusion, an alteration in some acute phase proteins related to pneumoconiosis was found in miners. This could be used as a marker of disease activity and personal response against the pathogenic agent.
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