Cyclic exposure to ozone alters distal airway development in infant rhesus monkeys

Michelle V. Fanucchi, Charles Plopper, Michael J. Evans, Dallas M. Hyde, Laura S. Van Winkle, Laurel J Gershwin, Edward S Schelegle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Inner city children exposed to high levels of ozone suffer from an increased prevalence of respiratory diseases. Lung development in children is a long-term process, and there is a significant period of time during development when children growing up in urban areas are exposed to oxidant air pollution. This study was designed to test whether repeating cycles of injury and repair caused by episodes of ozone exposure lead to chronic airway disease and decreased lung function by altering normal lung maturation. We evaluated postnatal lung morphogenesis and function of infant monkeys after 5 mo of episodic exposure of 0.5 parts per million ozone beginning at 1 mo of age. Nonhuman primates were chosen because their airway structure and postnatal lung development is similar to those of humans. Airway morphology and structure were evaluated at the end of the 5-mo exposure period. Compared with control infants, ozone-exposed animals had four fewer nonalveolarized airway generations, hyperplastic bronchiolar epithelium, and altered smooth muscle bundle orientation in terminal and respiratory bronchioles. These results suggest that episodic exposure to environmental ozone compromises postnatal morphogenesis of tracheobronchial airways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006


  • Adverse effects
  • Growth and development
  • Lung
  • Oxidant air pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology


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