O3-induced change in bronchial reactivity to methacholine and airway inflammation in humans

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1986 Apr;60(4):1321-6. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1986.60.4.1321.


The increase in airway responsiveness induced by O3 exposure in dogs is associated with airway epithelial inflammation, as evidenced by an increase in the number of neutrophils (polymorphonuclear leukocytes) found in epithelial biopsies and in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. We investigated in 10 healthy, human subjects whether O3-induced hyperresponsiveness was similarly associated with airway inflammation by examining changes in the types of cells recovered in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid obtained after exposure to air or to O3 (0.4 or 0.6 ppm). We also measured the concentrations of cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase metabolites of arachidonic acid in lavage fluid. We measured airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine aerosol before and after each exposure and performed bronchoalveolar lavage 3 h later. We found more neutrophils in the lavage fluid from O3-exposed subjects, especially in those in whom O3 exposure produced an increase in airway responsiveness. We also found significant increases in the concentrations of prostaglandins E2, F2 alpha, and thromboxane B2 in lavage fluid from O3-exposed subjects. These results show that in human subjects O3-induced hyperresponsiveness to methacholine is associated with an influx of neutrophils into the airways and with changes in the levels of some cyclooxygenase metabolites of arachidonic acid.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Airway Resistance / drug effects
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Arachidonic Acids / metabolism
  • Bronchi / cytology
  • Bronchi / drug effects*
  • Bronchi / metabolism
  • Cell Count
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Male
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Methacholine Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Ozone / pharmacology*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / metabolism
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / pathology
  • Therapeutic Irrigation


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Methacholine Compounds
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Ozone