1999 Volume 37 Issue 1 Pages 47-54
The aim of the present study was to establish a useful animal model that simulates humans sensitive to inhaled particulate matter (PM). We have developed a new rat model of acute bronchiolitis (Br) by exposuring animals to NiCl2 (Ni) aerosols for five days. Three days following the Ni exposure, the animals developed signs of tachypnea, mucous hypersecretion, and bronchiolar inflammation which seemed to progress quickly during the fourth to fifth day. They recovered from lesions after four weeks in clean air. To assess the sensitivity of the Br rats to inhaled particles, two kinds of PM of respirable size were tested with doses similar to or a little higher to the recommended threshold limit values (TLVs) for the working environment in Japan. Titanium dioxide (TiO2=Ti) was chosen as an inert and insoluble particles and vanadium pentoxide (V2O5=V), as a representative soluble and toxic airborne material. The Br rats exposed to either Ti or V were compared the pathological changes in the lungs and the clearance of particles to those in normal control or Br rats kept in clean air. The following significant differences were observed in Br rats: 1. delayed recovery from preexisting lesions or exacerbated inflammation, 2. reductions in deposition and clearance rate of inhaled particles with the progress of lesions. The present results suggest that Br rats are more susceptible to inhaled particles than control rats. Therefore, concentrations of particulate matter lower than the TLVs for Japan, which have no harmful effects on normal lungs, may not always be safe in the case of pre-existing lung inflammation.