Ozone exposure in humans: inflammatory, small and peripheral airway responses

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1995 Oct;152(4 Pt 1):1175-82. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.152.4.7551367.


We exposed eight normal adults to filtered air (FA) and 0.35 ppm ozone (O3) and compared responses in spirometry, including isovolume (isoV) flows at intermediate-to-low lung volumes, against levels of inflammatory markers in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and peripheral lung resistance (Rp) measured through a wedged bronchoscope. Spirometry was performed at the end, 25 min and 24 h after exposure, bronchoscopy at 24 h after exposure. The percentages of neutrophils, fibrinogen, albumin, PGE2, PGF2 alpha, and kinins were elevated in BALF after O3 compared with FA. The percentage reduction in (isoV) FEF25-75 at 25 min and 24 h after administration of O3 correlated closely with the rise in fibrinogen concentrations in BALF, a marker of altered vascular permeability. Rp, a measurement dominated by very small or peripheral airways, was unaffected in 7 of 8 subjects. The absence of change in Rp might have reflected insufficient penetration of O3 into these airways to produce or sustain an effect for 24 h; alternatively, the bronchoscopic procedure which included atropine and lidocaine pretreatment may have reversed an O3 effect. An unexpected finding was the significant association between baseline Rp (after FA) and the magnitude of the spirometric response to O3. Our results suggest that small airway dysfunction in the immediate post-O3 period is a marker of lung inflammation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atmosphere Exposure Chambers
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Capillary Permeability / drug effects
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation Mediators / analysis
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / physiology
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male
  • Ozone / adverse effects*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / drug effects
  • Spirometry
  • Time Factors


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Ozone