Respiratory Responses to Ozone Exposure. MOSES (The Multicenter Ozone Study in Older Subjects)

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2018 May 15;197(10):1319-1327. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201708-1613OC.


Rationale: Acute respiratory effects of low-level ozone exposure are not well defined in older adults.

Objectives: MOSES (The Multicenter Ozone Study in Older Subjects), although primarily focused on acute cardiovascular effects, provided an opportunity to assess respiratory responses to low concentrations of ozone in older healthy adults.

Methods: We performed a randomized crossover, controlled exposure study of 87 healthy adults (59.9 ± 4.5 yr old; 60% female) to 0, 70, and 120 ppb ozone for 3 hours with intermittent exercise. Outcome measures included spirometry, sputum markers of airway inflammation, and plasma club cell protein-16 (CC16), a marker of airway epithelial injury. The effects of ozone exposure on these outcomes were evaluated with mixed-effect linear models. A P value less than 0.01 was chosen a priori to define statistical significance.

Measurements and main results: The mean (95% confidence interval) FEV1 and FVC increased from preexposure values by 2.7% (2.0-3.4) and 2.1% (1.3-2.9), respectively, 15 minutes after exposure to filtered air (0 ppb). Exposure to ozone reduced these increases in a concentration-dependent manner. After 120-ppb exposure, FEV1 and FVC decreased by 1.7% (1.1-2.3) and 0.8% (0.3-1.3), respectively. A similar concentration-dependent pattern was still discernible 22 hours after exposure. At 4 hours after exposure, plasma CC16 increased from preexposure levels in an ozone concentration-dependent manner. Sputum neutrophils obtained 22 hours after exposure showed a marginally significant increase in a concentration-dependent manner (P = 0.012), but proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor-α) were not significantly affected.

Conclusions: Exposure to ozone at near ambient levels induced lung function effects, airway injury, and airway inflammation in older healthy adults. Clinical trial registered with (NCT01487005).

Keywords: airway inflammation; airway injury; lung function; ozone; sputum induction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • California
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / chemically induced*
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ozone / adverse effects*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Ozone

Associated data