Two groups of weanling or young adult rats were fed ad lib casein-based diets containing 4 or 16% protein. Food was restricted in a third group (fed the 16%protein diet) to the amount consumed daily by rats (adult or weanlings) fed the 4% diet. After 3 weeks (weanlings) or 1, 3 or 5 weeks (adults), one-half of th; rats in each group were exposed to 0.64 ppm (1.28 mg/m3) of ozone for 7 days (23.5 h each day). Several parameters were then evaluated related to lung connective tissue metabolism including: (1) total lung hydroxyproline, (2) total lung elastin, (3) apparent rates for lung collagen synthesis and elastin accumulation and (4) lung and body weights. In general, the response to protein deficiency and food restriction was more pronounced than to ozone exposure. Protein deficiency and food restriction resulted in decreased lung size and collagen content. However, the ability of lung to respond to ozone (in relative terms) was not altered by changes in diet as assessed by changes in lung weight or the collagen synthetic rate.
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