Early treatment of chlorine-induced airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation with corticosteroids

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Chlorine (Cl2) is an industrial gas that is highly toxic and irritating when inhaled causing tissue damage and an acute inflammatory response in the airways followed by a long-term airway dysfunction. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether early anti-inflammatory treatment can protect against the delayed symptoms in Cl2-exposed mice.BALB/c mice were exposed by nose-only inhalation using 200 ppm Cl2 during 15 min. Assessment of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), inflammatory cell counts in bronchoalveolar lavage, occurrence of lung edema and lung fibrosis were analyzed 24 h or 14 days post-exposure. A single dose of the corticosteroid dexamethasone (10 or 100 mg/kg) was administered intraperitoneally 1, 3, 6, or 12 h following Cl2 exposure.High-dose of dexamethasone reduced the acute inflammation if administered within 6 h after exposure but treated animals still displayed a significant lung injury. The effect of dexamethasone administered within 1 h was dose-dependent; high-dose significantly reduced acute airway inflammation (100 mg/kg) but not treatment with the relatively low-dose (10 mg/kg). Both doses reduced AHR 14 days later, while lung fibrosis measured as collagen deposition was not significantly reduced.The results point out that the acute inflammation in the lungs due to Cl2 exposure only partly is associated with the long-term AHR. We hypothesize that additional pathogenic mechanisms apart from the inflammatory reactions contribute to the development of long-term airway dysfunction. By using this mouse model, we have validated early administration of corticosteroids in terms of efficacy to prevent acute lung injury and delayed symptoms induced by Cl2 exposure.HighlightsInhalation of Cl2 may lead to a long-standing airway hyperresponsiveness.The symptoms in Cl2-exposed mice are similar to those described for RADS in humans.Corticosteroids prevent delayed symptoms such as AHR in Cl2-induced lung injury.Early medical intervention of corticosteroids is of importance.Treatment with corticosteroids alone is insufficient to counteract acute lung injury.

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