Exhaled breath contains information on systemic and pulmonary metabolism, which may provide a monitoring tool for the development of lung injury. We aimed to determine the effect of intravenous (iv) and intratracheal (IT) lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge on the exhaled mixture of volatile metabolites and to assess the similarities between these two models. Male adult Sprague-Dawley rats were anesthetized, tracheotomized, and ventilated for 6 h. Lung injury was induced by iv or IT administration of LPS. Exhaled breath was monitored continuously using an electronic nose (eNose), and hourly using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS). GC-MS analysis identified 34 and 14 potential biological markers for lung injury in the iv and IT LPS models, respectively. These volatile biomarkers could be used to discriminate between LPS-challenged rats and control animals within 1 h after LPS administration. Electronic nose analysis resulted in a good separation 3 h after the LPS challenge. Hexanal, pentadecane and 6,10-dimethyl-5,9-undecadien-2-one concentrations decreased after both iv and IT LPS administration. Nonanoic acid was found in a higher concentration in exhaled breath after LPS inoculation into the trachea but in a lower concentration after iv infusion. LPS-induced lung injury rapidly changes exhaled breath metabolite mixtures in two animal models of lung injury. Changes partly overlap between an iv and an IT LPS challenge. This warrants testing the diagnostic accuracy of exhaled breath analysis for acute respiratory distress syndrome in clinical trials, possibly focusing on biological markers described in this study.
Keywords: exhaled breath; lipopolysaccharide; lung injury; volatile organic compound.