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Toxicol Pathol. 2009 Feb;37(2):256-63. doi: 10.1177/0192623308330788.

In utero and postnatal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) alters alveolar and respiratory bronchiole (RB) growth and development in infant monkeys.

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University of California Davis Medical Center, Pulmonary and Critical Care, 4150 V Street, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.


The direct effect of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure in utero on the development of the lung parenchyma is not known. We used design-based stereologic methods to evaluate in utero and postnatal ETS exposure on alveolar and respiratory bronchiole (RB) development in the rhesus macaque.


Timed-pregnant rhesus macaques and their offspring were exposed to filtered air or various amounts of ETS during the prenatal and postnatal period. The left cranial lobe from necropsied infants was evaluated by design-based stereological methods and general pathological review.


Infants in the in utero and six-month ETS groups had an 18% and 17% relative decrease, respectively, in alveolar number and a 57% and 33% increase, respectively, in alveolar size compared to filtered air (FA) monkeys. Lung volume positively correlated with alveolar number in the FA and six-month ETS group and negatively correlated in the in utero ETS group. The distribution of alveolar size was much more variable in the in utero group. Overall, RB volume was significantly increased in the six-month ETS group (p < .04).


Taken together, these results indicate that in utero and postnatal ETS exposure is associated with altered parenchymal lung development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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