Characterization of exhaled breath condensate (EBC) non-exchangeable hydrogen functional types and lung function of wildland firefighters

Academic Article


  • Inhalation of smoke is shown to be associated with adverse respiratory outcomes in firefighters. Due to invasiveness of procedures to obtain airways lining fluid, the immediate responses of the target organ (i.e. lung) are secondarily assessed through biomarkers in blood and urine. The objective of this study was to identify changes in metabolic profile of exhaled breath condensate (EBC) and lung function of firefighters exposed to wildfires smoke. A total of 29 subjects were studied over 16 events; 14 of these subjects provided cross-shift EBC samples. The predominant types of non-exchangeable hydrogen in EBC were saturated oxygenated hydrogen, aliphatic alkyl and allylic. Non-exchangeable allylic and oxygenated hydrogen concentrations decreased in post-exposure EBC samples. Longer exposures were correlated with increased abundance of oxidized carbon in ketones, acids and esters. Post-exposure lung function declines (forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1): 0.08 l, forced vital capacity (FVC): 0.07 l, FEV1/FVC: 0.03 l, peak expiratory flow (PEF): 0.39 l s-1) indicated airways inflammation. They were related to exposure intensity (FEV1 and FVC) and exposure duration (PEF). This study showed that EBC characterization of non-exchangeable hydrogen types by NMR may provide insights on EBC molecular compositions in response to smoke inhalation and facilitate targeted analysis to identify specific biomarkers.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Nelson J; Chalbot MCG; Pavicevic Z; Kavouras IG
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 4