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Effect of ozone on mean linear intercept in the lung of young beagles.


Although photochemical air pollutants are believed to be associated with respiratory illness, there is also a need to consider their possible effects on postnatal lung maturation. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the maturation of lungs of young beagle dogs might be altered by an inhalation exposure to ozone that represents a severe 5-d episode of photochemical oxidant air pollution. Exposures were at 6 wk of age to purified air, 1 or 2 ppm ozone for 4 h/d on 5 consecutive days. After holding for 6 wk in clean air, lungs were removed and weighed, and the left lung was fixed both by inflation at 30 cm pressure and immersion using buffered formalin. Histologic sections were used for morphometric measurements. Statistical analysis showed that the mean linear intercept (inversely related to lung surface area) was greater than controls (up to about 5%) in the 1 ppm ozone-exposed group. This effect was not seen at 2 ppm ozone, apparently due to large variations in mean linear intercept. No significant differences were seen in body weight, chest girth, lung weight, or volumes of the fixed, inflated lungs. It is concluded that if anatomic maturation of the lung was retarded by this brief regimen of ozone exposure, the effect was small and not likely to have major health consequences.

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