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Inhal Toxicol. 2011 Aug;23 Suppl 2:75-83. doi: 10.3109/08958378.2011.601433.

Cardiac and pulmonary oxidative stress in rats exposed to realistic emissions of source aerosols.

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Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


In vivo chemiluminescence (CL) is a measure of reactive oxygen species in tissues. CL was used to assess pulmonary and cardiac responses to inhaled aerosols derived from aged emissions of three coal-fired power plants in the USA. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to either filtered air or: (1) primary emissions (P); (2) ozone oxidized emissions (PO); (3) oxidized emissions + secondary organic aerosol (SOA) (POS); (4) neutralized oxidized emissions + SOA (PONS); and (5) control scenarios: oxidized emissions + SOA in the absence of primary particles (OS), oxidized emissions alone (O), and SOA alone (S). Immediately after 6 hours of exposure, CL in the lung and heart was measured. Tissues were also assayed for thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Exposure to P or PO aerosols led to no changes compared to filtered air in lung or heart CL at any individual plant or when all data were combined. POS caused significant increases in lung CL and TBARS at only one plant, and not in combined data from all plants; PONS resulted in increased lung CL only when data from all plants were combined. Heart CL was also significantly increased with exposure to POS only when data from all plants were combined. PONS increased heart CL significantly in one plant with TBARS accumulation, but not in combined data. Exposure to O, OS, and S had no CL effects. Univariate analyses of individual measured components of the exposure atmospheres did not identify any component associated with increased CL. These data suggest that coal-fired power plant emissions combined with other atmospheric constituents produce limited pulmonary and cardiac oxidative stress.

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