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Ozone shuts down early immune response in lungs and body
Date:9/30/2007

posing all mice to the active portion of E. coli bacteria in aerosol form, the researchers studied how the innate immune system responded.

In the mice exposed to ozone, the airways of the lungs were hyperactive and we found higher concentrations of inflammatory cells, Hollingsworth said. But more significantly, ozone pre-exposure reduced the number of macrophages in the lung after secondary exposure to inhaled bacterial endotoxin. Exposure to ozone in this context had stimulated them to undergo programmed cell death, or apoptosis.

The researchers also found that the effect of the inhaled ozone was not limited to just the lungs. Mice exposed to ozone were also found to have lower levels of immune system cells circulating in the blood.

The Duke team plans further studies on the mechanisms behind ozones ability to induce cell death in macrophages in the lungs. They will also focus on the pollutants ability to interfere with system-wide immune responses.

The Environmental Protection Agency is in the final phases of reviewing and possibly updating the standards for allowable levels of ozone in the air. The current standard says that any amount greater than 85 parts per billion can be unhealthy for those at risk. Many medical groups, including the American Thoracic Society, recommend setting a stricter standard of 60 parts per billion, citing studies showing ozones adverse effects on health, especially in children and those with compromised health.


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Contact: Richard Merritt
Merri006@mc.duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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