Postnatal Ozone Exposure Disrupts Alveolar Development, Exaggerates Mucoinflammatory Responses, and Suppresses Bacterial Clearance in Developing -Tg Mice Lungs

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Increased levels of ambient ozone, one of the six criteria air pollutants, result in respiratory tract injury and worsening of ongoing lung diseases. However, the effect of ozone exposure on the respiratory tract undergoing active lung development and simultaneously experiencing mucoinflammatory lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, remains unclear. To address these questions, we exposed transgenic (-Tg) mice, a mouse model of cystic fibrosis-like lung disease, and littermate wild-type (WT) mice to ozone from postnatal days (PND) 3-20 and examined the lung phenotypes at PND21. As compared with filtered air (FA)-exposed WT mice, the ozone-exposed WT mice exhibited marked alveolar space enlargement, in addition to significant eosinophilic infiltration, type 2 inflammation, and mucous cell metaplasia. Ozone-exposed -Tg mice also exhibited significantly increased alveolar space enlargement, which was also accompanied by exaggerated granulocytic infiltration, type 2 inflammation, and a greater degree of mucus obstruction. The alveolar space enlargement in ozone-exposed WT, FA-exposed -Tg, and ozone-exposed -Tg mice was accompanied by elevated levels of MMP12 protein in macrophages and mRNA in the lung homogenates. Finally, although bacterial burden was largely resolved by PND21 in FA-exposed -Tg mice, ozone-exposed -Tg mice exhibited compromised bacterial clearance, which was also associated with increased levels of IL-10, an immunosuppressive cytokine, and marked mucus obstruction. Taken together, our data show that ozone exposure results in alveolar space remodeling during active phases of lung development and markedly exaggerates the mucoinflammatory outcomes of pediatric-onset lung disease, including bacterial infections, granulocytic inflammation, mucus obstruction, and alveolar space enlargement.

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Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

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