Effects of SO2 exposure on canine pulmonary epithelial functions

Exp Lung Res. 1989 Mar;15(2):181-98. doi: 10.3109/01902148909087852.


We examined the effects of a single exposure of high concentrations of sulfur dioxide (SO2) on the pulmonary epithelium in adult dogs over a period of several weeks. Mucociliary tracheal transport rates and alveolar clearance of 99mTc-labeled diethylene triamine pentacetate (99mTcO4-) were measured in vivo, before and immediately after inhalation of 100 ppm or 500 ppm SO2, and then weekly for 3-5 weeks. At the completion of the in vivo studies, tracheal epithelium was studied in Ussing chambers for bioelectric properties (short-circuited current, transepithelial potential difference), nonelectrolyte permeability for calculation of pore sizes, and changes in bioelectric properties following pharmacological manipulations. These tissues were then fixed for scanning electron microscopy studies. Additional dogs were sacrificed for microscopy studies at several time intervals to provide a histological basis for the altered mucociliary transport. We found that despite marked derangement of mucociliary transport caused by damage to the ciliated cells, recovery occurred over a period of several weeks, and alveolar permeability as assessed by the radioaerosol technique did not change. We concluded that the solubility of SO2 and perhaps a more severe damaging effect of SO2 specific on the ciliated cells might be the explanation for the observations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Aerosols
  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Epithelium / drug effects
  • Epithelium / physiology
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Mucociliary Clearance / drug effects
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Sulfur Dioxide / pharmacology*
  • Technetium
  • Technetium Tc 99m Pentetate
  • Time Factors
  • Trachea / cytology
  • Trachea / drug effects*
  • Trachea / ultrastructure


  • Aerosols
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Technetium
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Technetium Tc 99m Pentetate