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The absence of lung damage in rats after chronic exposure to 2 parts per million nitrogen di oxide



The absence of lung damage in rats after chronic exposure to 2 parts per million nitrogen di oxide



Bulletin Europeen de Physiopathologie Respiratoire 14(3): 311-326



Two mo. old Wistar rats were exposed for time periods of 1 day to 6 wk to a mixture of 2 ppm NO2 and ambient air. The bronchiolar epithelium was studied with the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to detect a possible loss of cilia. The alveolar walls were investigated under light microscopy and TEM after each week of exposure. HbO2 dissociation curve, erythrocytic variables, methemoglobin (MetHb) concentration were determined weekly. No striking changes were observed in the lung structures of the rats. Only slight emphysematous modifications were found under light microscopy. No NO2-induced alterations were found under TEM. Under SEM, the bronchiolar epithelium appeared normally ciliated. The Hb affinity was not modified. The blood variables of the exposed rats were not significantly different from those of the controls. No MetHb was found in NO2-treated rats. Considering that nitrogen oxides (NO2 and NO) with a low solubility may reach the peripheral lung tissues and the blood, 2 ppm of NO2 has no more effect on lung structure and blood variables than 2 ppm of NO, although NO2 is assumed more toxic than NO.

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