Ljerka Prester, Veda Marija Varnai and Jelena Macan
The CD14 receptor is expressed on the surfaces of monocytes, macrophages, and, to a lesser extent, of activated granulocytes and B lymphocytes (mCD14). It also exists in soluble form in the serum (sCD14), in which it binds microbial compounds and indoor allergens. The objectives of this study were to see whether serum sCD14 concentrations could be used as a marker of atopic disorders and to estimate the effects of environmental factors (tobacco smoke exposure, childhood residence in urban or rural areas, and having a pet) on sCD14 and IgE values. Mass fraction of sCD14 and total IgE were determined in the sera of atopic (N=53) and non-atopic (N=35) participants using the standard enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Exposure to pets and environmental tobacco smoke was estimated based on the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire (ISAAC). Median sCD14 concentration was significantly lower in atopic than in non-atopic girls (3.49 vs. 3.83 μg mL-1; p<0.010). The number of smokers at home positively correlated with the sCD14 level in atopics, and urban atopics had significantly lower sCD14 levels than rural atopics (3.47 vs. 3.92 μg mL-1, p=0.028). Median total IgE concentration was significantly lower in atopic pet owners than in atopics with no pets (161 vs. 252 kIU L-1; p=0.021). In conclusion, while sex and environmental factors might be involved in sCD14 expression, particularly in atopics, we found no correlation between sCD14 and total IgE concentrations. The usefulness of sCD14 as a marker of atopic disorders should be investigated further, particularly in relation to the severity of allergic disorders.
Adrijana Košćec Bjelajac, Jasminka Bobić, Jelena Kovačić, Veda Marija Varnai, Jelena Macan and Šime Smolić
The aim of this study was to examine mental health and cognitive functions in older Croatian workers (50–65 years) taking into account their employment status, self-assessed health, and a set of demographic characteristics. We analysed the data collected on 650 older workers (71 % employed) in the Wave 6 of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Unemployed workers reported symptoms of loneliness more often than the employed, while in rural areas unemployment was additionally associated with more pronounced symptoms of depression. Feeling of loneliness was also higher in those living without a partner in the household and in those with poorer health. In urban residents symptoms of depression were more severe in women, respondents with higher education, those living without a partner, and those who rated their health as poorer. As for cognitive functions, unemployment significantly predicted poorer subtraction in the rural subsample. Women in general showed less efficient numerical abilities. In the urban subsample poorer numerical abilities were also associated with lower education and living without a partner in the household. Better verbal recall was predicted by higher education and better self-rated memory. Higher scores in verbal fluency were predicted by urban residency and better self-rated health. Our results indicate that the protective factors for good mental health and cognitive functioning in older Croatian workers are being employed, having more education, living with a partner in the household, and being healthier. These findings stress the importance of implementing broader social policy strategies covering employment, education, and health.