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Chem Res Toxicol. 2010 Jan;23(1):108-17. doi: 10.1021/tx900306p.

Low-concentration ozone reacts with plasmalogen glycerophosphoethanolamine lipids in lung surfactant.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Denver, MS 8303, 12801 E. 17th Ave., Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA.


Ozone is a common environmental toxicant to which individuals are exposed to on a daily basis. While biochemical end points such as increased mortality, decrements in pulmonary function, and initiation of inflammatory processes are known, little is actually understood regarding the chemical mechanisms underlying changes in pulmonary health, especially for low concentrations of ozone. This study was undertaken to investigate ozone-induced oxidation of endogenous lipids that are potentially exposed to environmental ozone within lung, specifically focusing on plasmalogen glycerophospholipids present in pulmonary surfactant. Sensitive liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry methods were developed to follow oxidation of diacyl and plasmalogen phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) phospholipids and to identify and quantitate products generated by ozonolysis. Using a unilamellar vesicle system containing a 1:1 molar mixture of 1-O-octadec-1'-enyl-2-octadecenoyl-PE and 1,2-dihexadecanoyl-PC, these studies revealed that the vinyl ether bond of plasmalogens was oxidized preferentially at low concentrations of ozone (100 ppb), when compared to olefinic bond oxidation on omega-9 of the fatty acyl chain in the same phospholipids. Major phospholipid products generated were identified as 1-formyl-2-octadecenoyl-PE and 1-hydroxy-2-octadecenoyl-PE. Heptadecanal and heptadecanoic acid production was also quantitated using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and production was consistent with oxidation of the vinyl ether, at low concentrations of ozone. Analysis of murine lung surfactant from C57Bl/6 mice revealed several plasmalogen PE lipid species, encompassing approximately 38% of total PE species. Upon exposure of ozone (0 and 100 ppb) to murine surfactant, plasmalogen PE molecular species preferentially reacted, as compared to diacyl PE molecular species. Lysophospholipids, pentadecanal, and nonanal were found to be the primary products of surfactant ozone oxidation.

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