Concentrated ambient air particles induce vasoconstriction of small pulmonary arteries in rats.

Environmental health perspectives

PubMedID: 12460797

Batalha JR, Saldiva PH, Clarke RW, Coull BA, Stearns RC, Lawrence J, Murthy GG, Koutrakis P, Godleski JJ. Concentrated ambient air particles induce vasoconstriction of small pulmonary arteries in rats. Environ Health Perspect. 2002;110(12):1191-7.
The objective of this study was to determine whether short-term exposures to concentrated ambient particles (CAPs) alter the morphology of small pulmonary arteries in normal rats and rats with chronic bronchitis (CB). Sprague-Dawley male rats were exposed to CAPs, using the Harvard Ambient Particle Concentrator, or to particle-free air (sham) under identical conditions during 3 consecutive days (5 hr/day) in six experimental sets. CB was induced by exposure to 276 +/- 9 ppm of sulfur dioxide (5 hr/day, 5 days/week, 6 weeks). Physicochemical characterization of CAPs included measurements of particle mass, size distribution, and composition. Rats were sacrificed 24 hr after the last CAPs exposure. Histologic slides were prepared from random sections of lung lobes and coded for blinded analysis. The lumen/wall area (L/W) ratio was determined morphometrically on transverse sections of small pulmonary arteries. When all animal data (normal and CB) were analyzed together, the L/W ratios decreased as concentrations of fine particle mass, silicon, lead, sulfate, elemental carbon, and organic carbon increased. In separate univariate analyses of animal data, the association for sulfate was significant only in normal rats, whereas silicon was significantly associated in both CB and normal rats. In multivariate analyses including all particle factors, the association with silicon remained significant. Our results indicate that short-term CAPs exposures (median, 182.75 micro g/m3; range, 73.50-733.00 micro g/m3) can induce vasoconstriction of small pulmonary arteries in normal and CB rats. This effect was correlated with specific particle components and suggests that the pulmonary vasculature might be an important target for ambient air particle toxicity.