Early life exposure to allergen and ozone results in altered development in adolescent rhesus macaque lungs

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In rhesus macaques, previous studies have shown that episodic exposure to allergen alone or combined with ozone inhalation during the first 6 months of life results in a condition with many of the hallmarks of asthma. This exposure regimen results in altered development of the distal airways and parenchyma (Avdalovic et al., 2012). We hypothesized that the observed alterations in the lung parenchyma would be permanent following a long-term recovery in filtered air (FA) housing. Forty-eight infant rhesus macaques (30 days old) sensitized to house dust mite (HDM) were treated with two week cycles of FA, house dust mite allergen (HDMA), ozone (O3) or HDMA/ozone (HDMA + O3) for five months. At the end of the five months, six animals from each group were necropsied. The other six animals in each group were allowed to recover in FA for 30 more months at which time they were necropsied. Design-based stereology was used to estimate volumes of lung components, number of alveoli, size of alveoli, distribution of alveolar volumes, interalveolar capillary density. After 30 months of recovery, monkeys exposed to HDMA, in either group, had significantly more alveoli than filtered air. These alveoli also had higher capillary densities as compared with FA controls. These results indicate that early life exposure to HDMA alone or HDMA + O3 alters the development process in the lung alveoli.HighlightsAbnormal lung development after postnatal exposure to ozone and allergenThis remodeling is shown as smaller, more numerous alveoli and narrower airways.Allergen appears to have more of an effect than ozone during recovery.These animals also have continued airway hyperresponsiveness (Moore et al. 2014).

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