Aerosolized deferoxamine prevents lung and systemic injury caused by smoke inhalation

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1994 Nov;77(5):2057-64. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1994.77.5.2057.


We assessed the role of oxidant release at the airway mucosal surface on airway injury and systemic response to a severe smoke insult. Adult sheep (n = 20) were insufflated with well-characterized smoke from burning cotton toweling. A standardized dose of 12 breaths of smoke with a tidal volume of 20 ml/kg was given under anesthesia. Sheep were awakened, monitored for 24 h, and killed; data were compared with control sheep. Sheep were given 1) humidified oxygen, 2) continuous aerosol of 10% deferoxamine (DFO)-pentastarch solution beginning after smoke, 3) DFO-alone aerosol, or 4) pentastarch-alone aerosol. DFO has antioxidant properties directly and chelates iron. Severe respiratory failure occurred in all but DFO-pentastarch group. Shunt fraction increased from a control of 4%. Histological assessment revealed severe airway mucosal edema, ulceration, bronchorrhea, and severe atelectasis but only moderate alveolar edema. Increased lipid peroxides were also noted in free airway fluid and in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. In addition, oxygen consumption increased by 75%, fluid requirements increased threefold, and protein-rich systemic soft tissue lymph flow doubled, all significant increases compared with control sheep. No significant physiological or histological changes were noted in DFO-pentastarch aerosol group. We conclude that 1) oxidants possibly initiated through free iron release are involved in severe smoke-induced airway injury and resulting systemic inflammatory response, probably through an amplified oxidant injury and 2) an aerosol of a DFO-pentastarch complex prevents the injury process, whereas DFO alone is not effective as an aerosol.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Aerosols
  • Animals
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / analysis
  • Deferoxamine / administration & dosage*
  • Deferoxamine / therapeutic use
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Extravascular Lung Water / chemistry
  • Female
  • Hydroxyethyl Starch Derivatives / administration & dosage*
  • Hydroxyethyl Starch Derivatives / therapeutic use
  • Lipid Peroxides / analysis
  • Lung / chemistry
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Malondialdehyde / analysis
  • Respiration
  • Sheep
  • Smoke Inhalation Injury / metabolism
  • Smoke Inhalation Injury / pathology
  • Smoke Inhalation Injury / prevention & control*


  • Aerosols
  • Hydroxyethyl Starch Derivatives
  • Lipid Peroxides
  • hydroxyethyl starch-deferoxamine conjugate
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Carboxyhemoglobin
  • Deferoxamine