Male and female Fischer-344 rats were exposed either to filtered air (controls) or to 0.12, 0.5, or 1.0 parts per million (ppm)* ozone for six hours per day, five days per week, for 20 months. We examined collagen deposition in lung tissue from these animals to determine whether or not chronic exposure of rats to ozone causes pulmonary fibrosis, as defined biochemically. Several techniques were used to study collagen deposition in the lungs of the animals. These methods included biochemical quantification by analysis of 4-hydroxyproline in lung tissue hydrolysates. The hydroxylysine-derived cross-links in mature collagen were quantified to estimate biochemically the excess of fibrotic collagen in the lung tissue. Biochemical analysis indicated excess collagen in the female rats exposed to 0.5 or 1.0 ppm ozone. Collagen in the lungs of the females also contained relatively more hydroxylysine-derived cross-links than did the lung collagen from age-matched control animals that had breathed only filtered air. Exposure of Fischer-344 rats for 20 months to 0.5 or 1.0 ppm ozone was associated with excess fibrotic lung collagen deposition as defined histologically. In female rats, exposure was also associated with excess deposition as determined biochemically. There was no indication of any significant changes in the lungs of any of the rats exposed to 0.12 ppm ozone, but the number of animals in this group was far too small to conclude whether this was a true no-observable-effect level. We conclude that chronic exposure of rats for 20 months to ozone at concentrations of 0.5 ppm or above for six hours per day, five days per week, causes mild to moderate lung fibrosis, as defined histologically and, in female rats, biochemically. The significance of these observations with regard to health risks to humans chronically inhaling ozone at ambient levels in polluted air remains to be determined.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||29|
|Journal||Research report (Health Effects Institute)|
|State||Published - Apr 1994|
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