Peribronchial fibrosis in lungs of cats chronically exposed to diesel exhaust

D. M. Hyde, Charles Plopper, A. J. Weir, R. D. Murnane, D. L. Warren, Jerold A Last, W. E. Pepelko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


This study reports the quantitative changes in the pulmonary proximal acinar region following chronic exposure to diesel exhaust and following an additional 6 months in clean air. Cats (13 months of age) from a minimum disease colony were exposed to clean air (eight cats for 27 months and nine cats for 33 months), diesel exhaust for 8 hours/day, 7/days/week (nine cats for 27 months), or diesel exhaust for 27 months followed by 6 months in clean air (10 cats). Morphologic and morphometric evaluation using light microscopy and scanning and transmission electron microscopy revealed two major exposure-related lesions in proximal acinar regions of lungs of cats: (a) peribronchial fibrosis associated with significant increases in lymphocytes, fibroblasts, and interstitial microphages containing diesel particulate-like inclusions and (b) bronchiolar epithelial metaplasia associated with the presence of ciliated and basal cells and alveolar macrophages containing diesel particulate-like inclusions. Peribronchiolar fibrosis was greater at the end of the 6 months in clean air following exposure, whereas the bronchiolar epithelial metaplasia was most severe at the end of exposure. Following an additional 6 months in clean air the epithelium more closely resembled the control epithelial cell population. The labeling index of terminal bronchiolar epithelium was significantly increased at the end of exposure but was not significantly different from controls or exposed cats following an additional 6 months in clean air. The ultrastructural appearance of epithelial cells remained relatively unchanged following diesel exhaust exposure with the exception of diesel particulate-like inclusions. Total lung collagen, expressed as hydroxyproline per left caudal lobe, was apparently increased (although the difference was not significant) in lungs of cats allowed to recover 6 months in clean air. Newly synthesized collagen (evaluated as the amount of cross-link-derived aldehydes in collagen) was significantly increased to more than twice the control values. The ratio of collagen aldehydes to hydroxyproline was also significantly increased. These observations imply that chronic exposure to diesel exhaust has a persistent fibrogenic effect on the proximal acinar region of the lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-206
Number of pages12
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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