Previously we have demonstrated that a synergistic interaction, as evaluated by several biochemical, toxicological, and morphological responses of the lung, results from exposure of rats to ozone (O3) in conjunction with moderate concentrations of acidic, but not neutral, aerosols. To extend these studies, groups of rats were continuously exposed to either O3 or sulfuric acid aerosol alone, or to combinations of these pollutants. Pulmonary responses from these rats were measured by assay, after exposures for 6 hr to 7 days, of total lavageable protein content, total lung tissue protein content after 5, 7, or 9 days of exposure, or apparent collagen synthesis rates from lung tissue after 7 days of exposure. While the lavageable protein content from rats exposed for 3 days to 0.1 or 1.0 mg/m3 of sulfuric acid aerosol alone was not different from control values, significant elevations from control values were observed from groups exposed to 0.12, 0.20, or 0.64 ppm of O3. Synergy was demonstrated by this assay upon exposure of rats to 0.20 ppm of O3 in conjunction with 0.1, 0.5, or 1.0 mg/m3 of sulfuric acid aerosol. Similarly, the tissue protein content from rats exposed to 0.1 or 1.0 mg/m3 of sulfuric acid aerosol alone was indistinguishable from control values. Significant elevations from control values were observed by this assay from groups of rats exposed to 0.64 or 0.20 ppm of O3, and a synergistic interaction was demonstrated between 0.64 ppm of O3 and 1.0 mg/m3 of sulfuric acid aerosol. Furthermore, synergy was observed by quantification of increased total lung protein between 0.20 ppm of O3 + 40 μg/m3 and higher concentrations of sulfuric acid aerosol. Values of the lung collagen synthesis rate from rats exposed to 0.1, but not 1.0, 0.5, or 0.04 mg/m3 of sulfuric acid aerosol were significantly higher than values from lungs of control animals. Significant elevations from control values were also observed by this assay from groups of rats exposed to 0.64 or 0.20 ppm of O3. A synergistic interaction was demonstrated by the collagen synthesis rate assay between groups of rats exposed to 0.64 ppm of O3 + 0.20 mg/m3 and higher concentrations of sulfuric acid aerosol or between groups exposed to 0.20 ppm of O3 + 40 μg/m3 and higher concentrations of sulfuric acid aerosol. These results demonstrate synergy between O3 and sulfuric acid aerosol upon exposure to concentrations of each pollutant at or near peak hourly ambient levels in polluted urban atmospheres.
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