The response of the rat tracheal epithelium to ozone exposure. Injury, adaptation, and repair

K. J. Nikula, D. W. Wilson, S. N. Giri, C. G. Plopper, D. L. Dungworth

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53 Scopus citations


Although acute ozone (O3) exposure injures tracheal epithelium, the response of the tracheal epithelium to prolonged O3 exposure, and the degree of repair following cessation of exposure have not been previously reported. The purpose of this experiment was to characterize the morphologic response of rat tracheal epithelium to acute (3 days) and prolonged (60 days) exposure to 0.96 ppm O3 as well as to evaluate repair of a 7- and 42-day post-60-day exposure period. Quantitative light- and electron-microscopic evaluation and thymidine labeling indices showed that after 3 days of O3 exposure there was ciliary damage, cell necrosis, an increased density of intermediate cells, and an elevated thymidine labeling index. Following 60 days of exposure, the only major change from controls was the presence of ciliated cells with uniformly short cilia. Tracheal superoxide dismutase levels did not differ between control and 60-day exposure groups. Our findings suggest that the tracheal epithelium adapts to prolonged ozone exposure with the exception of cilia formation in ciliated cells. Complete epithelial recovery occurred by 42 days after exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-384
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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