Cyclic exposure to ozone alters distal airway development in infant rhesus monkeys

Academic Article


  • Inner city children exposed to high levels of ozone suffer from an increased prevalence of respiratory diseases. Lung development in children is a long-term process, and there is a significant period of time during development when children growing up in urban areas are exposed to oxidant air pollution. This study was designed to test whether repeating cycles of injury and repair caused by episodes of ozone exposure lead to chronic airway disease and decreased lung function by altering normal lung maturation. We evaluated postnatal lung morphogenesis and function of infant monkeys after 5 mo of episodic exposure of 0.5 parts per million ozone beginning at 1 mo of age. Nonhuman primates were chosen because their airway structure and postnatal lung development is similar to those of humans. Airway morphology and structure were evaluated at the end of the 5-mo exposure period. Compared with control infants, ozone-exposed animals had four fewer nonalveolarized airway generations, hyperplastic bronchiolar epithelium, and altered smooth muscle bundle orientation in terminal and respiratory bronchioles. These results suggest that episodic exposure to environmental ozone compromises postnatal morphogenesis of tracheobronchial airways. Copyright © 2006 the American Physiological Society.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fanucchi MV; Plopper CG; Evans MJ; Hyde DM; Van Winkle LS; Gershwin LJ; Schelegle ES
  • Volume

  • 291
  • Issue

  • 4