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Enhanced pulmonary inflammatory response to inhaled endotoxin in pregnant rats.

Huffman LJ; Frazer DG; Prugh DJ; Brumbaugh K; Platania C; Reynolds JS; Goldsmith WT
J Toxicol Environ Health, A 2004 Jan; 67(2):125-144
Evidence suggests that pregnant animals are more sensitive than nonpregnant animals to the systemic administration of endotoxin. Studies were undertaken to assess whether an enhanced sensitivity of the pulmonary system to aerosolized endotoxin might exist during pregnancy. Pregnant Sprague-Dawley female rats (17 d of gestation) or age-matched virgin female rats were exposed to air or endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide) by inhalation for 3 h. At 18 h following exposure to endotoxin, lactate dehydrogenase activity levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples from pregnant rats were 1.5-fold greater than those from endotoxin-exposed virgin rats. BAL polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) numbers were also approximately twofold greater in pregnant rats than in virgins following the inhalation of endotoxin. The increases in BAL PMNs in pregnant rats following endotoxin exposure were observed just following exposure to endotoxin as well as at 18 h following exposure. These results indicate that an increased pulmonary inflammatory response to inhaled endotoxin occurs during pregnancy in rats. Additional findings suggest that these pregnancy-linked pulmonary responses to endotoxin cannot be explained by the following potential mechanisms: changes in the inhaled dose of endotoxin, or alterations in the responsiveness of alveolar macrophages to endotoxin. To our knowledge this is the first study that has evaluated pulmonary responses to inhaled endotoxin during pregnancy. Our finding that pregnancy is associated with an increased lung inflammatory response to aerosolized endotoxin raises the possibility that there may be a generalized enhancement of pulmonary responses to inhaled toxic agents during pregnancy.
Animals; Animal-studies; Endotoxins; Pregnancy; Prenatal-exposure; Sensitivity-testing; Pulmonary-function-tests; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Laboratory-animals
L.J. Huffman, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia 26505, USA
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Fertility and Pregnancy Abnormalities
Source Name
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues
Page last reviewed: January 14, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division